The Grandparent Scam

Imagine being awakened by a phone call in the middle of the night. It’s someone crying and claiming to be your “grandchild” asking for money because of an accident. Of course, you want to help your loved one so you do whatever you can in this emergency situation. In reality no accident has occurred and the money you sent is stolen by a scammer.

Emergency scams play off of peoples’ emotions and strong desire to help others in need. Scammers pretend to be their victim or victim’s relative and make up an urgent situation:

  • I’ve been arrested
  • I’ve been mugged
  • I’m in the hospital

Verify the emergency and resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.

Guard yourself against the Grandparent Scam by asking a question that only your grandchild would know, such as the name of your pet, then verify with other family members — even though the person on the other end of the line will beg you to keep it a secret.

To learn more about common scams and how to help protect yourself from fraud, visit Western Union’s Fraud Awareness website or ACCC’s Scam Watch website.