LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — We’ve all heard of the ‘grandparent scam.’ Scammers preying on the willingness of a worried individual to help families and friends in need. Often, they will impersonate their targets’ loved ones pleading for help and money.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “One of the more common versions is a scammer pretending to be a grandchild contacting a grandparent. A lot of times they’re able to use social media and figure out what those family ties are, what your grandchildren’s names are, and then they use those stories, and they use those names to contact and sound very convincing.”
The caller claims to be a family member in distress, even saying they’ve been arrested while traveling overseas, or there was an accident. The scammer can even provide family members or school details.
“The phone call is the most common method, and then we know scammers are able to spoof phone numbers. A lot of times, it’ll be a different phone number from your family members, but it might be a local area code and of course, they’re going to have a reason for calling from a different number. They’re going to have a very convincing story,” explained Babin.
The plea is so persuasive the grandparent wires money to the scammer, only to find out later their family member was safe and unharmed… all along.
“They’re going to ask for money up front. It’s going to be sometimes a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars but one thing to be leery of is if you send money, wire transfer that first time, the scammers are going to stay after you to continue sending money,” added Babin. “The story is going to evolve and they’re going to continue asking for money if you fall victim the first time.”
Here’s how you can spot this grandparent scam:
- Resist the urge to act immediately. Check out the story the scammer tells you, but hang up or call your loved one directly.
- Know what your family members are sharing online.
- Don’t wire money if there is any doubt about the call.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.