Watch Out For the Grandchild Scam

Just when I thought the grandchild scam had died down, it seems to have popped up again. Another couple in our area recently lost $7000. Someone close to me, a normally very astute person, was actually taken in by this a year ago. Fortunately, she contacted someone in the family before she lost too much money. However, she was still out $1000.

The way it works is this. Someone calls an elderly person and claims to be their grandson or granddaughter. Usually they identify themselves by name, making it sound even more convincing. They say that they’ve been in a car accident or stopped by police or something similar. They then ask the elderly person to wire them money to get out of jail or pay a lawyer or provide medical care. They also request that they don’t tell their parents because they don’t want to get in trouble.

It usually starts with a figure of $1000 or perhaps $2000. However, it doesn’t end there. Once the money has been sent, the scammer calls again saying that more money is needed. However, this time the caller may be someone claiming to be a doctor, lawyer or police officer. This may go on for several days, until the person being called finally catches on or runs out of money. Unfortunately, once the money has been sent, there is very little chance that any of it will be recovered.

If someone calls you, no matter how convincing the voice seems, or how much it sounds like your grandchild, don’t send money. Immediately call your grandchild or his or her parents to find out if the story is true. Then call the police and report it.