According to the Federal Trade Commission, between 2012 and 2014, consumers reported more than $42 million in losses from scams involving the impersonation of family members and friends. This scam, commonly known as the “grandparent scam,” is a form of financial abuse that deliberately targets older Americans.
To commit this crime, fraudsters call claiming to be a family member in serious trouble and in need of money immediately. The scammer might say he’s stranded or has been mugged, and call in the middle of the night to add to the urgency and confusion. Once the money is wired, the victim later finds out that it wasn’t their grandchild they were helping, it was a criminal.
Confirm the caller
Fraudsters are using social networking sites to gain the personal information of friends and relatives to carry out their crimes. Verify the caller by calling them back on a known number or consult a trusted family member before acting on any request.
Don't be afraid to ask questions
Fraudsters want to execute their crimes quickly. In this type of scam, they count on fear and your concern for your loved one to make you act before you think. The more questions you ask the more inclined they will be to ditch the scam if they suspect you’re on to them.
Never give personal information to anyone over the phone
Only do so if you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
Never rush into a financial decision and trust your instincts
Don't be fooled--if something doesn't feel right, it may not be right. Feel free to say no and get more information before you send money to someone.