Imagine this. You receive a call from your grandchild. He or she expresses some sort of trouble that requires money urgently. They feel embarrassed and ask you to not tell their parents.
The only problem with this is that it’s not actually your grandchild on the phone. The person on the end of the call is a scammer, and they’ve used common tactics scammers employ to fool you:
With Grandparents Day on September 11, it’s a good time to remember some tips for avoiding the common grandparent scams. According to AARP, the FTC had more than 91,000 reports of scammers posing as a relative or friend of the victim.
- Recognize the signs. The scammer usually makes it a very time-sensitive matter and evokes your emotions. They make you feel frazzled and worried. Remember you have time. It’s important to not feel rushed into something.
- Call your grandchild. Hang up and call your grandchild on the number you know for them. This quickly thwarts those trying to conduct a grandparent scams. If your grandchild doesn’t answer, call your daughter or son to make sure everything is okay. Remember scammers try to make the situation a secret.
- Ask questions. Personal details about your family are abundant on social media. The scammers find these details and throw in enough personal information to make it sound like your grandchild is the one on the phone. If you’re feeling unsure, ask questions that only your grandchild could know. Remember to also make your social media accounts private and ask your family to do the same or not share any details about you that you don’t want to be public.
- Don’t send money. The person impersonating your grandchild typically asks for immediate funds in unusual forms such as wire, gift cards, or prepaid cards. Don’t do this. As soon as you do that, the money is gone.
- Protect your personal information. If you choose to answer an unknown number (which you shouldn’t), then let the caller do the talking. Don’t offer details. Scammers will say “Hi Grandma, it’s me” waiting for you to offer the name.
By taking the time to ensure the person on the other end of the call or text is who they say they are, you can save yourself immense money and time in the long run. Remember, the team of state government officials at the Iowa Insurance Division are here to help you. You can report scams here.