How to Spot a Grandparents Scam

How to Spot a Grandparents Scam

Grandparents love their grandchildren, and criminals love to take advantage of that for their financial gain. One of the more popular scams today is the “grandparent scam.” AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl says this is where scammers claim to be your grandchild or reaching out on their behalf who needs urgent help.

 “They will say that your grandchild was in an accident or may be in the hospital — they may even tell you your grandchild hurt someone and is now in jail. They’ll ask you to send money right away — often through a money transfer or by purchasing gift cards and sharing the activation information on the back of the cards.” 

Voskuhl provides these tips to safeguard against this type of scam.

“Criminals have relied on this scam for many years, and the contact may come late at night. They often times will scour your social media profile to learn more about you and offer just enough information to make sure the story is convincing. If you receive a phone call or message like this, you should stop the conversation immediately and call your grandchild or other family members to confirm they are safe.” 

If you or someone you know becomes a victim of this type of scam, Voskuhl says it’s important to contact local authorities.

“If you’ve experienced a phone scam or other fraud, file a police report. This could help with possible restitution opportunities. And, don’t stay silent if you think an older loved one may be experiencing elder abuse, contact your local Adult Protective Services. The call is anonymous. Also, AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline can help you if you’ve been scammed or connect you with other valuable resources.” 

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