I recently received a call from my step-father, who lives in Mississippi. He had received an odd call from a man claiming to be my son.
The caller had greeted him with, “Hi Grandpa, it’s Chris. I’ve been in a car accident, I’m bleeding and in jail. I need you to call my lawyer.”
My step-father was confused… the caller did sound a bit like my son, but it made no sense that he would be calling his grandpa two states away for help.
I quickly checked on my son, who was sound asleep in his bed, his car intact and parked in its’ normal spot. We immediately realized my step-father had been the target of a Grandparent Scam.
Grandparent Scams typically involve an imposter posing as a grandchild who is in trouble: they’ve been in an accident, or arrested. Once they have the grandparent concerned and ready to help, they hand the phone off to another scammer posing as a police officer or lawyer who then will make arrangements to have the grandparent wire money to them.
Thankfully, my step-father followed his instincts and did not fall victim to the scammer. This scam is on the rise, but you can protect yourself by following these 5 tips:
- Set privacy settings on your social media accounts.
- Ask questions that only your grandchild could answer.
- Tell the caller you will call them back, then call your grandchild’s cell number.
- Contact other family members to verify the story.
- Trust your gut instinct.
Fraud targeting older people should be reported to the FTC at 877-382-4357.
Lori Williams is the owner of Lori Williams-Senior Services, LLC and the host of the podcast, Aging in Style with Lori Williams. For help with senior housing and services, contact Lori at 214-783-1222 or www.loriwilliams-seniorservices.com.