Sunday, January 11, 2009

Avoid the Grandparents Scam...

 ...Don't Be Scammed By Phony "Grandkids"

Just when you may have thought scammers couldn't sink any lower, some have plunged to record depths. Recently, some scammers have bilked the elderly out of hundreds -- or thousands -- of dollars by posing as their "needy" grandchildren. 

According to, the grandparents scam usually works like this: 

You receive a phone call from someone who greets you with, "Hi Grandma." 


"Do you know who this is?" 



Without knowing it, you just made a mistake. Instead of saying, "No, I don't know who this is," you supplied the scammer with the name of a grandchild. He then proceeds to impersonate that grandchild. 

Your "grandchild" claims he's gotten into some kind of trouble -- auto accident, overdue rent, minor brush with the law -- and needs money to fix the situation. "Can you please help? But don't tell mom. She'd kill me if she found out!" 

This may seem like an obvious scam, but it's fooled plenty of people -- mostly because the scammers are good at what they do. They choose their targets carefully, tug on the heartstrings, and keep other family members "out of the loop" until it's too late. 

One scammer "victimized dozens of seniors and found his victims by scanning the phone book for old-fashioned sounding names. One of his victims, an 86-year-old grandmother, even had to use a walker in order to get to her bank and withdraw money for him." 

The scammers are cunning -- one couple could have sworn the guy REALLY was their grandson. 

Recommendation: There's one easy way to expose the fraud: DO NOT fill in any "blanks" for the scammer. For example: 

"Do you know who this is?" 

"No, I don't. Who is this?" 

"It's your granddaughter." 

"Really? Which one?" 

Most likely, the next sound you hear will be a click, followed by a dial tone. 

That's the easiest way not to fall for the grandparents scam. 

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