If you have an older adult in your life, share this warning about the Grandparent scam, a phone call affecting senior citizens.
Residents should be aware of the “Grandparent Scam.” This involves someone pretending to be a grandchild, niece, or nephew calling an older adult and asking for money due to being in an accident, arrested, etc.
The swindler may plead for an elder to wire a large sum of money and keep it a secret. Additionally, they might pretend to be someone from the justice system, such as a bail bond agent, attorney, court officer, or police officer.
Scammers have become adept at using social media to glean information about their targets, including the names of their family members. This increases the likelihood that elderly victims will trust them. Do not be deceived by this tactic.
State Police know of 36 people they tricked out of over $230,000 in recent years. They believe more victims don’t recognize they were scammed or are too ashamed to tell someone.
The State Police encourages residents not to be tricked by these calls and instead immediately hang up and report the call to a loved one and their local police department.
For example, an elderly person fell prey to the deceptive “Grandparent Scam” and lost $26,000. An unknown phone number contacted an 87-year-old occupant. The caller said her grandson was in a car accident in Vermont where a woman was injured; consequently, he had been taken into custody and required aid to be discharged on bail.
The senior citizen dialed the contact provided and talked to the lawyer, who revealed that the bail would amount to $26,000 cash. Furthermore, the judge issued a silentium edict for the circumstance, so she was forbidden from verbally sharing information on it with anyone.
The resident went to the community bank, withdrew the money, and returned home. Later that evening, at 6 pm, the doorbell rang, and it was a woman from the bail bond agents organization. After she was allowed in, the resident handed over the box packed with cash.
They may set the person listed in the caller ID and the caller’s phone number to something that scammers want you to see. If an unknown number comes up on your phone, do not answer; if it is essential, a voicemail will be waiting for you. This allows you time to confirm who called you.
Scammers have the skills to extract personal details from victims. For example, they may call up and say, “Hi, Grandpa, it’s me! John.” Generally, the reaction is for someone to ask, “John, is that you? You don’t sound like yourself.”
With that information of the grandchild’s name in hand, the fraudster will seem increasingly personal. They can further explain why they sound different by mentioning they have been in an accident and suffered damage to their lips, teeth, or mouth.
The fraudsters will try to keep their grandparent target from phoning anybody and check if the grandchild is in school, at work, or at home instead of being in jail. They do this by telling them how embarrassed they are for being taken into custody and plead with their grandparent not to tell anyone.
How to avoid the Grandparent scam with senior citizens:
It’s as though they’re acting on the victim’s instinct to offer assistance. Particularly in this event, they went as far as to invent a “gag order” issued by a judge that forbids talk about it before any payment is carried out.
People doing this scam usually take out money and wire it to the person pretending to be a lawyer. Also, they may ask you to take photos of the card numbers or read them over the phone to pay for bail.
For two decades, this same scam has occurred. However, it’s the first time scammers have come to a house to receive their payments. Usually, people wire money or send pictures of gift card numbers to individuals in another state or country.
Discuss this scam with your senior family members and report the callers. Knowledge is the only way to combat these con artists and protect against their deceitful tactics using the Grandparent scam.