Updated: Oct 6, 2022
The Grandparent Scam is so simple and so devious because it preys upon one of older adults’ most reliable assets: their hearts.
Scammers will place a call to an older person and when the mark picks up, they will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having done a lick of background research.
Once “in,” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem (overdue rent, payment for car repairs, etc.), to be paid via Western Union or MoneyGram, which don’t always require identification to collect. At the same time, the scam artist will beg the grandparent “please don’t tell my parents, they would kill me.”
While the sums from such a scam are likely to be in the hundreds, the very fact that no research is needed makes this a scam that can be perpetrated over and over at very little cost to the scammer.
If you suspect you or someone you love has been the victim, call the local police, your bank (if money has been taken from your accounts), and Adult Protective Services via the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov.~