Seniors are often the target of scams, where criminals use a sense of urgency to con grandparents out of thousands of dollars. One of the scams seniors fall for most is the fake arrest of a grandchild.
Read on for details on this devious scam and how one grandma fought back.
Phone scams targeting seniors
Many phone scams target seniors, but we finally have good news. One grandma who fell victim didn’t take it lying down. She got proactive and helped officials catch the thieves.
The scam is simple: con artists call an older person and claim to be from law enforcement or a bail bonds agency. They say a grandchild has been arrested and needs money to post bail. The claim is fake, and when the victim pays the fee, the scammers are never heard from again.
This happened recently to a Pennsylvania grandmother who was conned out of $25,000. According to WGAL, the scammers sent a rideshare driver to pick up the cash, who took it to a location in New Jersey.
However, the criminals didn’t expect the victim and the driver to work with the police to make an arrest. After contacting law enforcement, she told the scammers she had more money to give. The rideshare driver also agreed to drop off the money, and police arrested two people waiting for the delivery. Classic grandma!
How to outsmart phone scams
As we said, phone scams targeting seniors are common. Even if you’re not a senior, there are ways to stay protected and help loved ones avoid phone scams. Here are suggestions:
- Look into call blocking. There are technologies and devices that can stop many scam calls and illegal robocalls before they reach you. Cell phones, home phones that make calls over the internet (VoIP), and landlines have their own call-blocking options. Just know that call-blocking services could block some legitimate calls.
- Sign up for the National Do Not Call registry to stop calls from real companies. But know that the registry can’t stop calls from scammers. Tap or click here for more details on the Do Not Call registry.
- If you answer one of these scam calls, hang up. If possible, tell the person you’re caring for to do the same. If the call is a robocall, don’t press any numbers or it could lead to more calls.
- Warn your loved one about scams. If possible, talk to the person you care for about different types of scams that can happen over the phone.
- Know when to report identity theft. If you find out the person you’re caring for gave their personal information to a scammer, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report it and find out what you can do next.
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