A family member calls and says “Grandma, I need your help and please don’t tell mom and dad.” The reality is that the request can be real or it can be a line used by a criminal posing as the victim’s grandchild. Differing versions of the same scam have been around in one form or another for years. Unfortunately, when the caller is a con artist looking to pull off a phone scam; deceit and lies are designed to catch the caller off guard.
Recently, I was talking with friends and uncovered an ugly story that bears repeating even if it saves one grandparent from financial loss (not to mention the emotional aftermath of being scammed).
The criminal called posing as a grandchild and convinced the well-meaning grandmother that he was in serious trouble. The circumstances sounded plausible in a moment where fear for the safety of a family member was heightened.
The “facts” heard by the unsuspecting grandmother:
- My grandson is in Mexico attending the wedding of a friend
- He was driving a rental car and was sideswiped
- The hit and run driver left the scene
- The police took my grandson to jail
- An attorney is going to save the day and free my grandson
- I can help by wiring $3,000 ASAP
While most of us would like to believe we would never be trapped in a scam like this, it is does happen. Awareness is one important key to stopping phone scam criminals from preying on family trust and loyalty.
Please pass the word among your family members to be on alert for calls like this. If calling an immediate family member is not an option, then consider contacting a trusted financial advisor to talk through the situation before taking action.