Have you heard about the Grandparent Scam? Not a new Crime but an often used scam that we all need to make sure we are aware of, and that our Grandparents are too.
Here's a typical scenario: The Criminal will contact a person claiming to be a family member or close personal friend with a compelling story. You'll get the idea, "I lost my wallet", "At the airport and my luggage was stolen"... They validate their story by recalling information culled from the web, names of relatives, city of residence etc.
And of course, the call is an urgent one, even reinforced by claim of being in danger or about to miss a vital travel connection.
Once some degree of recognition by the 'Grandparent' is established, the next step is to ask for some money to be wired "Right Away"
Of course, once the money has been delivered, it is automatically transferred to a foreign account and that is the end of the line as far as tracing the money.
It's gone as soon as it's delivered.
So, what can you do?
Discuss this with parents, relatives and friends. Explain how to avoid getting taken, provide predetermined reactions, and the suggestion that the 'Grandparent' call you before parting with their money so that you can verify the legitimacy of the long lost relative.
Ask yourself if this person or family member really would contact you in a similar crisis.
Contact other relatives to confirm the status and location of the person calling you.
Ask the caller for a phone number and let them know that you will call them back. If they refuse, it's most likely a scam, if they provide a number, then ask a relative to confirm before you call back.
If the 'Loved one' claims the are in jail, then ask for the location, then call the jail (not using a number that they provide!)
If you get a call that a loved one is in the hospital, and ask for financial information, first verify the address of the hospital and contact the billing department.
Always, ALWAYS, question the validity of a call before you send money or provide any financial information to anyone that calls, emails, or text's you about an emergency situation.
Plain and simple: Trust you guts, you know the saying, if it does not seem right, or out of the ordinary, then it is probably a scam.