Scam of the day – December 13, 2012 – Grandparent scam update

You might wonder why I am warning you again about the grandparent scam as I did previously on February 27, 2012 and May 6, 2012.  The reason is that there has been another increase in occurrences of this scam and many people across the country are being swindled out of money through a scam that seems easy to identify, but in fact, when done by a skilled scam artist is very effective.   This scam is particularly prevalent during the holiday season.  Although there are many variations of the scam, generally they start with a telephone call from someone pretending to be a grandchild of the person receiving the call.  They then implore the grandparent to send money by a wire transfer to the grandchild immediately to help them out in an emergency encountered in a foreign country where the child is temporarily located.   The emergency may be a health emergency or a legal problem, such as an arrest.   They also ask that the grandparent not tell the grandchild’s parents because of embarrassment.

TIP

If you receive such a call, contact the parents or another source of accurate information as to the grandchild’s whereabouts.  You can even call the grandchild’s cell phone.  Always be wary of any request to wire funds because once money is wired, it is almost impossible to get the money back which is why this is the choice of many scammers.  Grandchildren should be wary of the amount of personal information that they make available on social media such as Facebook because scammers gather such information to make them more believable when the pose as the grandchild.  People should also be more careful as to the information that they put in obituaries as to the names and other information about grandchildren that can be used as a source of information by scam artists about surviving grandparents.