The FTC reports more than $40 million was stolen from elders who fell for the grandparent scam. That’s $14 million more than what was stolen just one year earlier. Scammers are adapting the scam to trick seniors into falling for it.
Elders used to be asked to wire money or purchase gift cards. Now, scammers are requiring seniors to mail or ship cash to the scammer. Teach your parent to quickly identify the scam by using these tips from seniors who have dealt with the scam personally.
How These Scams Work
The grandparent scam is so believable because the scammers do their research. They look up family connections on genealogy websites and forums. They use social media to find current posts and pictures that announce when someone is on a trip.
Using this information, they create a believable script. A grandson is on spring break in Florida and gets a DUI. The scammer poses as a lawyer who says the grandson needs money immediately for bail and lawyer fees. Scammers can make this believable if they find Facebook posts about a grandson having a beer at a bar in Miami. He’s really there, so the grandparent believes the scammer.
How Seniors Are Avoiding the Grandparent Scam
One senior got a call saying his grandson was driving drunk and crashed into another woman’s car. That woman was pregnant and wanted cash to avoid taking the grandson to court. He recognized the scam and got the information to mail cash.
His next step was to call the police and work with them to catch the scammers. While the marked package was mailed, authorities were in the shadows waiting to arrest the people who picked up the package.
A Connecticut grandmother got a call that was very realistic. After talking to the scammer, she hung up and called her grandson. He informed her he was fine and doesn’t even drink. Knowing to call him prevented her from falling for the scam. It was a smart move.
Companionship Services Can Lower the Risk of Elders Talking to a Scammer
Caregivers provide companionship, which can keep your parents from wanting to talk to scammers online or on the phone. There’s also the risk of your parent not understanding it’s a scam. If your parent struggles with technology, make sure they have guidance when answering a phone call, reading emails, or using social media. Do this by hiring elder care services.
In addition to companionship services, elder care providers help with household chores like laundry, cleaning, and meals. They can answer the door and phone, drive your parents to the store, and schedule appointments. Call our elder care agency to discuss your parents’ needs and budget.