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Why Are Grandparents at Risk?
What is the Grandparent Phone Scam?
It begins with a phone call to a senior and the caller sounding suspiciously like a beloved grandchild. When the senior states the name of the grandchild, the scammer knows the target has taken the bait. That's how it played out for my relatives. Their caller claimed to have had a traffic incident that landed him in jail. He acted embarrassed and was hoping "Grandma & Grandpa" would wire him the bail money without mentioning it to his parents. He would inform them when the matter got resolved. Since their grandson is a college student out-of-state, and since young men sometimes get into minor trouble, and since the caller sounded exactly like one of their four grandsons, they got scammed.
Even if they realize they've been scammed, the FBI reports that senior citizens are less likely to report a fraud because they don't know how to report it, or are too ashamed to admit they've been tricked. They may be especially concerned that relatives will doubt their mental capacity to be independent.
Protect Against Scam Callers
What Else Can I Do?
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When you are retired and on a fixed income, you especially can’t afford to be taken advantage of. There are plenty of scam artists out there preying on elderly people, and it can be difficult to know what to do if you have been the victim of fraud or financial abuse. Use these resources to help you recognize the warning signs to avoid a con, and to show you where to turn if you’ve already been victimized.
Avoiding and Recovering from Financial Scams
22 Tips for Avoiding Scams — This handy little tip sheet comes from the National Council on Aging and will give you some very helpful hints for avoiding scams like health insurance fraud and dishonest contractors.
Consumer Agency Director — If you’ve been the victim of a scam artist or predatory company, use this state-by-state directory of consumer agencies that can help.
Financial Crimes Against The Elderly — This page offers the sobering truth about financial crimes against the elderly. Learn all about the most common scams and how to protect yourself and your family from them.
On Guard Online — Seniors fall victim to online fraud at an alarming rate. Fight back by learning how to spot a scam.
Help 4 Victims — This link will take you to the home page for Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, formed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The page will show you exactly where to report different types of financial crimes.