When it comes to our grandchildren, we all have a soft spot. Unfortunately, those who wish to SCAM us know this. Last week my own parents almost fell prey to this popular new scam tactic. A grandchild calls, it sounds like one of yours, you’re not quite sure…
So you ask: “Micah, is that you?”
With excitement you ask; “How are you?”
“I’ve got a problem. Do you think you might be able to help me?”
Of course, you’d do anything for one of those darling grandchildren! That adult or college age grandchild proceeds to tell you about a mess he/she’s gotten him/herself into and begs you not to tell their mom or dad. They are so embarrassed and feel like they’d be in a world of trouble with mom or dad – if they knew.
You agree to help and they put someone on the phone with the proper information, to tell you where to wire the money… only to find out later that your grandchild had not called, he or she had never been in trouble to begin with… You were scammed! They got your money by pulling at your heart-strings, they sucked you in through love and empathy.
Luckily, my parents were disconnected – before they were able to get the wire location and called me because they were worried about my son.
First I called my adult son to insure all was well and then I called the number from my parents’ caller ID. It was an international number, which could not receive calls. Not only was someone trying to scam my parents out of their hard earned retirement, the money would have left the country with virtually no chance for recovery.
This very popular scam is also very under reported. It’s estimated that only 1 in 14 cases are being reported at this time. Seniors, especially those of us who feel we should be “older and wiser” at this point in life, are too embarrassed to admit they were taken by a two-bit scammer… The problem is; these are not two-bit scammers, they are professionals. If we do not take action, it will continue to grow. It will likely happen to your friends, family or neighbors. They may also be too embarrassed to tell the authorities or warn their friends and family.
Create a “family code.” Make sure every child and grandchild knows the code. If the caller doesn’t use or know the code – hang up!
And please, always report the offense to proper authorities.