One vulnerable population to scammers is the elderly. They are less likely to be up on the latest scam warnings on social media and they may assume that people are being truthful and not out to deliberately rob them. But they ARE. Our grandmas and grandpas need to keep practicing practical skepticism.
The US Federal Trade Commission is warning people about a trick to get grandparents to fork over money they will never see again.
A fake debt collector calls you. They want to collect on a debt your grandchild (supposedly) failed to pay. They ask you to wire money, send a prepaid card or give your credit card number – immediately. And if you won’t – or can’t – pay? That’s when the threats begin:
“Your grandchild will be arrested.”
“He’ll lose his job.”
“We’ll suspend her driver’s license.”
A similar scam involves a caller saying a family member of your has been in an auto accident and caused damage and unless YOU provide them some money RIGHT NOW, they will do something really bad to said family member (your deadbeat brother, typically).
The bottom line is NEVER continue to participate in such calls. If you are wondering if it’s real, ask for names and details from the caller. They WILL NOT be able to provide it but give you excuses instead. This is not legitimate and it is NOT your obligation to provide money in the first place. So, if you get any of these such calls, ask a trusted source to help you look up if it’s going on in your area and call up your local officials to ask if you can do anything about it. Record details of the call if you can.
You can also file a complaint with the FTC. They have a consumer protection page called Pass It On that encourages people to talk about such experiences to make others prepared to react if it happens to THEM. Just that little bit of warning can make all the difference when faced with a questionable call or message. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.