SCAM ALERT: Grandparent Scam Targets Seniors | thebaynet.com | TheBayNet.comSeptember 13, 2020
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland Department on Aging is warning people to watch out for the “Grandparent Scam.”
According to the agency, “The Grandparent Scam is so simple and so devious because it uses one of older adults’ most reliable assets, their hearts.”
Scammers target people using the phone, texts, emails, or messaging. The scam always involves a story of a loved one in some type of jeopardy. Most often, they’ll claim it’s a grandchild, but these crooks could use any family relationship.
Making the person in danger an adult grandchild is a way of guaranteeing that their target actually is a senior citizen. Scammers perceive seniors as more vulnerable and target them frequently.
The story can vary but it normally falls into two categories:
1. A loved one has been arrested. They need money for an attorney, bail, or to pay some type of fine.
2. The loved one is injured. They need money for medical bills or for an ambulance ride home.
Whatever the fake problem is, it is always urgent. The money must be paid immediately or there will be dire consequences.
If scammers approach you by phone, you will only get to speak to the loved one for just a second before someone else takes over the call. A favorite trick is just to have someone say, “Grandma!” or “Dad!” and wait for the person on the other end to say, “Billy?” Then the cons have a name they can use to make their scam more believable.
The fake attorney or sheriff or doctor will then get on the line and explain to the concerned grandparents that they need to pay up or else. What if you don’t have grandkids? Then you just hang up and they’ll bother someone else.
Seniors Lose Thousands
Recently, there was a case of a 75-year-old man conned out $12,000 by a caller pretending to be his daughter-in-law. She told him she was in trouble, then handed off the phone to an alleged attorney.
The fake lawyer told the man his “daughter-in-law” was at fault in a car accident. He needed $12,000 to prevent her mugshot from going online and to bail her out of jail. He said he would send a court employee by to pick up the cash. The worried fellow took the money out of the bank and handed it over to a stranger who came to his door.
This case is a little unusual. Not because the man handed over the money, but because someone turned up in person. Most of the time, these scams happen entirely over the phone. The criminals ask for gift cards or wire transfers as a form of payment.
I covered a case a few years back where grandparents spent over $20,000 on gift cards to pay for alleged medical expenses for a ‘grandson’ injured while camping. Of course, their real grandson was just fine and there was no way for them to get their money back.
Don’t Fall For It
These scammers count on fear. They want to get your heart pounding so hard that you don’t take time to think or to verify their claims. By the time you do think about it, your money…