Police are warning people about the re-emergence of a telephone scam that rips off elderly victims by tricking them into thinking they’re sending money to a relative.
“The grandparent scam” involves a scammer who calls a victim and says something like, “Grandma, grandpa — I need you to do me a favor. Don’t tell anybody about it. I need you to go the bank right away, withdraw some money and send it somewhere,” says Detective Brian Kozel of the Hudson, Ohio Police Department. “Either they’re in jail or they’re in the hospital; they need immediate action,” Kozel says. “They’re crying to the grandparent. They’re saying, ‘Grandma, Grandpa, I need your help and I need it now.'”
Although victims often maintain the scammer knew the grandchild’s name, that usually isn’t the case. They’re known to say something like, “It’s me, Grandma! Don’t you know who this is?” The grandparent will typically respond by saying their grandchild’s name out loud. Kozel says potential victims should watch for tricks like this, and even if the caller’s voice sounds authentic, they should take extra steps to confirm his or her identity before agreeing to send the caller money.
Make sure you let your loved ones know about this.