Lafayette (Change Location)

Apr 18, 2024

The Grandparent Scam: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Senior Loved One

The Grandparent Scam

 

Your phone rings, and on the other end is a panicked voice claiming to be your grandchild. "Grandma, I need your help. I'm in trouble, and I need money fast."

Your heart races and your first instinct is to do whatever it takes to help. But wait, is this really your grandchild, or could it be a grandparent scam?

Grandparent scams are nothing new, and they're hitting close to home right here in Acadiana.

These scammers are smart, using social media and other tricks to learn personal details about your family.

They'll use this info to spin a convincing story, maybe about a car accident, an arrest, or a medical emergency.

Anything to tug at your heartstrings and get you to send money before you have time to think twice.

So, how can you spot a grandparent scam? And what steps can you take to protect the senior you love from falling victim?

We'll break it down for you, sharing the warning signs to look out for and practical tips to keep your family safe. 

What Exactly is a Grandparent Scam?

A grandparent scam is a con where someone contacts an elderly person, pretending to be their grandchild or another family member in distress.

They might claim they've had an accident, been arrested, or are in the hospital and urgently need money to resolve the situation.

Here's how it typically plays out:

  1. The scammer reaches out, claiming to be the victim’s grandchild or relative.
  2. They weave a dramatic story about their dire circumstances.
  3. hey urgently request money through wire transfer, gift card purchase, or ask for cash to be handed over discreetly, often insisting on secrecy from other family members and parents.
  4. Sometimes, they'll even introduce another scammer posing as a professional like a lawyer, doctor, or police officer to back up their story.
  5. In some cases, the caller might impersonate a medical professional, law enforcement officer, or another authority figure.

These scammers excel at exploiting emotions to manipulate your senior loved one into sending money. Knowing the signs can help you spot a grandparent scam and protect your loved one.

How to Protect Senior Loved Ones from Falling for Grandparent Scams

So, how can you prevent your loved one from falling victim to grandparent scams? It starts with education and open communication.

Tip #1: Educate Your Loved One

Make sure your loved one is aware that grandparent scams can happen anywhere, including here in Acadiana.

Talk to them about the tactics scammers use and the warning signs to be alert for, like urgent requests for money and pressure to keep things secret.

Tip #2: Encourage Them to Pause and Think

If they do get a suspicious call, encourage them to take a deep breath and not let emotions take over.

Scammers rely on people's instinctive responses, so it's important to pause and think before taking action.

Tip #3: Verify the Story

Tell them to hang up the phone and call the grandchild or other family members directly to get the real story. If the caller says not to, that's a big red flag.

Tip #4: Protect Personal Information

Remind them not to give out personal info like addresses, social security numbers, or bank account details over the phone, no matter how convincing the caller seems.

Tip #5: Check Social Media Settings

Also, don't forget to check what info your loved one is sharing on social media. Scammers can use those personal details to make their story sound more believable.

Tip #6: Be a Supportive Family Member or Caregiver

As a caregiver or family member, you play a big role in all this too. Keep the lines of communication open, and let your loved one know they can come to you if they're unsure about a call or request. Offer to be the one to call other family members and check things out.

What to Do If You Suspect a Grandparent Scam

If you suspect a grandparent scam, report it to your local police department or sheriff's office. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online.

The more we report these scams, the better chance we have of stopping them and keeping our seniors safe here in Acadiana. So don't be shy about speaking up if something seems fishy.

Read Also: Protecting Seniors from Cybercrime

Grandparent scams are a real problem, and they're not going away anytime soon.

But by staying informed, talking openly with our loved ones, and knowing what to do if a scam hits close to home, we can fight back.

So, start that conversation with your family. Share this blog post, talk about the warning signs, and make a plan for how to handle any suspicious calls or requests.

The more we're all on the same page, the better protected our senior family members will be.

At Home Instead, we're here to support you every step of the way. As a leading home care provider in Lafayette and the surrounding areas, we're committed to helping seniors stay safe, healthy, and happy in the comfort of their own homes.

Whether you need help with diabetes care, hospice support, respite care, Alzheimer's and dementia care, or other services, our team of compassionate caregivers is here for you.

We understand the unique challenges that come with aging, and we're dedicated to providing the highest quality care to every senior we serve.

Fill out the online form below today to learn more about our home care services or to schedule a free, no-obligation care consultation.

 

Source:

https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2021/04/dont-open-your-door-grandparent-scams

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