Recently a friend of mine told me about the grandparent scam. She described receiving a call at her home from a person who claimed to have a message from their granddaughter. The caller told my friend was that her granddaughter was stranded in a foreign country and desperately needed financial help. Another friend of mine, a granddad, received a call from a hysterical female claiming to actually be his granddaughter.
Now I have received a lot of scam calls, and I’ve shared the information with my parents and with lots of other people on this blog. I am, however, stunned that I’ve missed this one.
The scammer calls a person and says that they are calling about a grandchild who is in trouble.The loving grandparent responds worriedly and usually says the child’s name. Once the fraudulent caller has a name, he or she can move in for the money, stressing the grandchild’s crisis and emphasizing the delicacy of the situation (she doesn’t want her parents to know so she’s calling you, etc., etc.). Sometimes the caller has done some homework and already knows something about the family situation. If a person a skeptical, the caller will even offer a number of the “local police” where the stranded grandchild is located.
The holidays are a good time to speak with grandparents, explaining that you will never, ever put them in a situation where you or someone else calls in desperate need of help. You can also point out that, because you want to spare grandparents any worry, you will always call you parents first when you are in difficulty.