• Pam

The Grandparents Scam-Stay Protected



As baby boomers, many of us have elderly parents. One of our biggest fears is that our parents do not fall prey to a scam for money. Have you or your parents ever received a call from someone pretending to be your grandson or granddaughter, asking for money? Chances are, you have. This is called the grandparents scam, and it's one of the most common scams out there. In this post, we'll talk about what the grandparent's scam is, how to protect yourself from it, and what to do if you fall victim to it. Stay safe!


Grandparents are always the victims of scams. It seems like every other day there's a new one going around, and it's so hard to keep track of them all. But one of the most common ones is the grandparents’ scam. So, if you're a grandparent, or know someone who is, read on for tips on how to avoid being scammed.


Since the pandemic scams on the elderly have increased. Is there anything we can do about it? What are our options to protect those that we care about?

Your aging parent or you get a call from someone saying they are your grandchild. Sometimes they are just taking a chance by saying things like, “C’mon grandma you know who I am” It may sound fishy but the fact that they can’t tell you the specific name of the grandchild is often enough of a red flag to hang up the phone or tell someone.




What happens when the scam artist knows your grandchild’s name and uses that to try and swindle some money out of them. This has happened to my mother-in-law and my long-time friend and business partner. Not only did they know the name of one of their grandchildren, but they offered to come to the house and pick up the money! This takes the scam to a whole new level.


This raises the question that not only the risk of losing money exists but now saying they will come to the house raises a whole new level of safety concerns.


I can remember 30 years ago, my grandmother not telling anyone and meeting some man in a parking lot and gave him 10,000. She had some elaborate story that she felt she needed to pay it and that money was gone forever. So many bad things could have happened to her that day. Scams have been around a long time. What can we do to protect our loved ones?


The calls usually start with some type of distress. The bottom line is that they need money. According to Forbes story on the Grandparent Scam, this scam has a higher-than-average dollar amount of other scams. Forbes goes on to say that this scam averages around $9,000.00.


Scammers are very good at acting. They are not above using any type of emotional ploy or tugging on the heart strings. That is what they do best. We have heard of our poor elders being mugged right in the parking lot as they are loading their groceries into their car.

The “red flag” we need to remember is that any emergent request for money should smell “fishy”. The best defense we have against these scams is Education! We need to educate our seniors on how to recognize a scam, and what to do if they are targeted.


Here is another example of a scam to our seniors. This one is called the "Medicare scams." In this scam, seniors are targeted by people posing as Medicare representatives. The imposter will try to get personal information from the senior, such as their Social Security number or credit card information. They may even say that the senior owes money for a new Medicare card.




These scams can be scary because they seem real. But there are some things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here are a few tips:


· Never give out personal information to someone you don't know. This includes your Social Security number, credit card information, or bank account information.


· If you get a call from someone claiming to be from a government know that this is a scam. The government will never call and ask for personal information.


· Do not wire money to someone you don't know. This is a sure way to lose your money.


· Talk to your loved ones about scams and what to watch out for. This will help them be more aware if they get a call from a scammer.


If you are unsure about a call, hang up and call the company or person back at a number you know is real. Do not use the same number the caller gave you. For example, call the Mediare Customer Service number. 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY 1-877-486-2048 Mailing address

Medicare Contact Center Operations PO Box 1270 Lawrence, KS 66044




Where do we report the scam instances? If you have been the victim of this scam, or any scams, please report it to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) at ftc.gov/complaint. By reporting your story, you could be helping someone else avoid being scammed.


You can report the complaint here: FTC.gov/complaint.


According to the Forbes article, if any money has been mailed a phone call to the post office is appropriate.

In an article posted by Scam University, one grandma, a retired 911 dispatcher was able to reverse the situation. Scam the scammer and get him arrested onsite.


The grandma agreed to the money terms and that the caller could come to the house to pick up the money. She called a friend, then called the police and when it was all said and done when the scammer showed up to the house to pick up the money. (An envelope full of paper towels) the police were there to make the arrest! Way to go grandma!!

In our resources, the FBI article list 4 resources for reporting scams and getting help.

-File a complaint with IC3 - Federal Trade Commission - Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force - American Association of Retired Persons - Looks Too Good To Be True


It can be hard to know what to do when you get a call like this, but don't worry, we will continue to bring education on keeping you safe at home for as long as safely possible. In the meantime, make sure you sign up for our email list so that you can be notified when our next post or video goes live. Thanks for reading and stay vigilant!


Thanks for stopping by! We hope this has brought you some value. We have included a checklist that you can leave by the phone for your loved one.


Consider joining our email list to stay "in the know" when new post or videos are shared.

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Take care and we'll talk soon,

Pam


Resources:


PAMChecklistGrandmaScam
.pdf
Download PDF • 546KB


https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2019/04/19/how-to-spot-and-shut-down-the-grandparent-scam/?sh=6ece67926fbc

https://medium.com/scam-university/grandma-scams-a-scammer-14836a0d9743

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/the-grandparent-scam

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