Senior Safety

Grandparent Scam

The Better Business Bureau wants to get the word out. Well-meaning senior citizens who think they are helping a grandchild in trouble are becoming victims of the so-called “Grandparent Scam.” So far, the scam has targeted grandparents in more than a dozen states and Canadian provinces and stolen as much as $19,000 from one victim alone.

How It Works

Typically, a grandparent gets a frantic call from someone claiming to be his or her grandchild. The scammer, posing as the grandchild, explains that he or she has gotten into trouble - often in Canada - and needs their help. The “grandchild” might claim he or she caused a car accident or was arrested for drugs. With the new wave of calls, victims are also contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer or lawyer representing the grandchild.

The “grandchild” pleads with the grandparents not to tell his or her parents and asks them to wire thousands of dollars to post bail, repair the grandchild’s car, cover lawyer’s fees or pay hospital bills for the person injured in a car accident.

Confirm It's Real!

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be your grandchild and asking for money, BBB advises that you not disclose any information before you have confirmed it really is your grandchild. Scammers often prey on vulnerable senior citizens, looking through the obituaries for the names of a surviving spouse and names of children and grandchildren. If a caller says, “It’s me, grandma!” don’t respond with a name; instead let the caller explain who he or she is. Confirm their identity by asking a question that only your grandchild would know.

If you have fallen victim to this or any other scam, report it to the police. In Roseville, call 651-767-0640.

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