Several years ago, a friend of mine’s grandmother received a tearful call from her grandson, a young adult. He told her he was in Canada, had run into trouble, and needed her to send money immediately. She wired the money and subsequently informed other family members. Only then did she find out that her grandson was not in Canada and had not gotten into trouble. She’d been scammed.
Many seniors are targeted in this and very similar scams, and it is not difficult to imagine why. They are particularly susceptible to loneliness and often eager to hear from family, their hearing may be failing making it hard to recognize voices, and the call triggers a strong emotional reaction that may overcome reason. Moreover, the scammers are sophisticated, able to trick the intelligent and educated as well as the vulnerable.
Through the years, we’ve come to realize that although an email from the Prince of Nigeria promising to send us large sums of money sounds pretty nice, this is a scam and few fall for it. Hopefully, spreading the word about the Grandparent Scam will have the same effect.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of the scam, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling 877-382-4357, and sign up for scam alerts at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts. Scams can also be reported to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network, where you can also sign up for fraud alerts.
Image © Alan Lucas – Fotolia.com