Hello Grandparent Phone Scam
In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly 500,000 complaints from consumers reporting that they’d been exposed to imposter scams. The Hello Grandparent Scam is one type that deliberately targets older Americans.
Imagine being awakened in the middle of the night by someone claiming to be your grandchild in serious trouble and in desperate need of money. The caller might say he’s stranded on a school trip with no money, or has a flat tire, and beg you not to call his/her parents. Once the requested money is wired, the victim later discovers 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 unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Trust your instincts and never rush into a financial decision. Don’t be fooled — if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. Feel empowered to say no and get more information before you send money to someone.
- Wire money with caution. Fraudsters typically request a wire transfer because they can abscond quickly with the money.
Online Dating Scams
- Proactively give. Rather than respond to unsolicited appeals for donations, which may be fraudulent, identify the causes most important to you, and find a reputable charity to support.
- Write a check. Instead of dropping cash in a homemade canister or handing money to a solicitor, write a check to the charity of your choice. This ensures your money is supporting the charity, rather than the solicitor, and provides tax deduction documentation.
- Check it out. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance provides information on individual charities. Visit bbb.org/all/charities-donors.