FBI, FTC highlight uptick in ‘grandparent scams’

Grandparent scams are also known as “person-in-need scams.” They target seniors, but can happen to anyone.
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:59 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The FBI and FTC are asking more people to be aware of grandparent scams.

Grandparent scams are also known as “person-in-need scams.” They target seniors, but can happen to anyone.

They happen when a crook calls a senior and disguises their voice to sound like a family member. The calls usually occur late at night and the scammer will pose as a grandchild in danger.

Former Kentucky Attorney Gary Adkins is a scam expert at AARP. He said the first thing the scammer will do is try their best to make you feel panicked because of the problem.

”Often times when we are acting through emotion, we are not really acting logical and we make some bad decisions from time to time,” Adkins said.

The scammer will ask for money to get them out of their situation. They will ask for funds to be wired or sent through a gift card.

Adkins said more recently, scammers have been asking for cash and will show up at your doorstep as the collector.

”They will ask for cash and the bond may have been $10,000, but now it’s reduced, and it may be a more manageable amount of money,” Adkins said. “The person will come by the house to pick up the money. Imposter scams have taken folks from millions of dollars. These criminals are always ready to take advantage of the elderly especially, but anybody.”

If this happens to you: Don’t send any money. Hang up immediately. Call the family member in question to make sure they’re safe.

AARP said some of the best ways you can protect yourself are to:

  • Keep your social media accounts private.
  • Don’t fall for a familiar caller ID. Scammers can use to make it appear they’re calling from a trusted number.
  • Don’t volunteer any information. Scammers fish for facts they can use to make the impersonation believable.
  • Don’t let a caller rush you into making a decision.
  • You can report any fraud targeting older people to the FTC online or by calling (877) 382-4357. You might also want to notify your state’s attorney general and consumer protection office.
  • If you sent money to a suspected scammer via a credit union, call the company’s fraud hotline as soon as possible. Your credit union may be able to stop the transaction and refund your money.

For more information on grandparent scams, click or tap here.