"Emergency scams" can happen to anyone. Scammers fabricate an urgent situation and target family and friends with requests for help and money," the Indiana State Police and Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana said in a news release.
Many times, scammers try to fool older adults by making the request seem to come from a grandchild, the news release said. The BBB offers these tips to avoid the "Grandparent Scam."
Know the red flags: Typically, the grandparent receives a frantic phone call from a scammer posing as the older adult's grandchild. The “grandchild” says he or she has gotten into trouble and needs help, possibly because of a car accident or drug possession arrest. The "grandchild" asks grandparents not to tell his or her parents. The scammer then asks grandparents to wire thousands of dollars reportedly needed for posting bail, repairing a car, covering lawyer's fees or other reasons.
Don’t disclose too much information. If a grandparent receives a call from someone claiming to be their grandchild in distress, don't provide any personal or financial information until confirming it really is the older adult's grandchild. For example, if a caller says, "It's me, Grandma!," don't respond with a name — let the caller explain who he or she is. People should also be careful sharing too much travel information on social media.
Ask a personal question. One easy way to confirm the caller's identity is to ask a simple question that the grandchild would know, such as the name of a cousin or pet. Don't ask something that can be easily identified via a social media profile (such as the name of the grandchild’s school).
Communicate. If a student really is traveling, he or she should share travel plans with family members before leaving the state or country. Let your older loved ones know where you’ll be and when you plan to return. Make sure everyone in the family has contact information in case of emergency. This should include a cell phone number and email for the student and for anyone they are traveling with.
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