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Beware of the Grandparent Scam!


The grandparent scam, also known as the "grandchild in distress" scam, is a type of fraud that preys on the emotions of older individuals. While it may not specifically be labeled as a "cybersecurity" scam, it often involves the use of technology to carry out the deception. Here's how the grandparent scam typically works:

  1. Initial Contact: Scammers often initiate contact with the victim through a phone call. They may claim to be a grandchild or someone else the grandparent cares about. In some cases, they might have obtained personal information about the family through social media or other online sources.

  2. Urgent Situation: The scammer will fabricate a story about being in some kind of trouble or emergency situation, such as being arrested, in a car accident, or facing a medical emergency. The goal is to create a sense of urgency and panic.

  3. Request for Money: After establishing the emergency scenario, the scammer will request immediate financial assistance. They might ask the grandparent to wire money, send gift cards, or provide credit card information to help them out of their supposed predicament.

  4. Emotional Manipulation: The scammer relies on the grandparent's emotions, creating a sense of urgency and fear that their grandchild is in danger. This emotional manipulation makes it more likely that the victim will act quickly without verifying the situation.

  5. Preventing Verification: To avoid detection, the scammer may insist that the grandparent not contact other family members to verify the situation. They might claim that they are embarrassed or don't want others to know about their predicament.

  6. Loss of Money: Once the grandparent sends money or provides financial information, it becomes nearly impossible to recover the funds. Scammers may disappear, change phone numbers, or use other tactics to avoid being traced.


grandparent scam

To protect against such scams:

  • Verify the Story: Always verify the caller's identity by asking questions that only your actual grandchild would know. Contact other family members to confirm the situation.

  • Never Send Money Without Verification: Be skeptical of urgent requests for money and never send money without independently verifying the emergency.

  • Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect a scam, report it to local law enforcement and relevant authorities. They can provide guidance on how to proceed.

  • Educate Seniors: Inform older family members about common scams and encourage them to be cautious about unsolicited calls or messages requesting money.

Remember that scammers constantly adapt their tactics, so it's essential to stay informed and vigilant to protect against various types of scams, including those targeting vulnerable populations like grandparents.