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Preying on Grandparents
An admitted con artist awaiting sentencing in California reveals the details of what's known as the "grandparent scam" - an elaborate scheme in which people call senior citizens, impersonating a grandchild in distress and beg for cash.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
Be suspicious when you receive a telephone call where:
- A grandchild calls you from a faraway location.
- The grandchild says, "It's me," or "It's your grandson," or "It's your favorite grandchild."
- The grandchild is in some trouble or some type of distress.
- The caller asks for money to be wire transferred.
If you receive such a call, you should verify the identity and location of the child or grandchild claiming to be in trouble. You should hang up and call another family member who can confirm your child or grandchild's whereabouts. Try calling them at the telephone number through which you normally reach him or her. Stay calm and avoid acting out of a sense of urgency. Do not wire money unless you have verified with an independent third party that your child or grandchild is truly in trouble.
In addition, never give out any personal identifying information such as bank account or credit card numbers to anyone who calls you on the phone.