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How to Avoid Grandparent Scams

June 12, 2023

A "grandparent scam" is a type of impersonation scam that targets older individuals. Fraudsters call claiming to be a family member who is in serious trouble. They may say they're stranded out of town or had their wallet stolen. To add to the urgency and confusion, it is common for them to call in the middle of the night. They ask for money to be sent in a way that is impossible to recover when the victim realizes they've been scammed. Keep these things in mind if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Confirm the caller

Check with another family member before acting on any request. Social networks are used to collect personal information of friends and relatives. Always verify the caller by calling them back at a known number. This can be done by hanging up or having someone else make the call while you're on the phone. If it's a grandchild, the parent is a good place to start.

Don't be afraid to ask questions

The more questions you ask, the more likely the scammer will know you're on to them and ditch the scam. The success of these scams is in the perceived urgency. They count on fear and your concern for your family so that you'll act before you think.

Never give personal information over the phone

Unless you initiated the call and trust who you're talking to, never share personal information over the phone.

Never rush into a financial decision

You can say no and get more information before you send money to someone.

Trust your gut instinct

If something doesn't feel right, trust your gut. Your bank is always a resource and is happy to help you navigate these situations.