Franklin Lakes NJ, from the Franklin Lakes Police Department ,recently the Police Department has received two reports of fraud where the perpetrator telephoned a resident and reported an emergency involving a family member. Both become victims that were scammed out of several thousand dollars.
This scam is typically referred to as the “Grandparent Scam.” The perpetrator will telephone or email the victim and may either report or pose as a relative who has been involved in some type of accident, arrest or some other fictitious type of trouble. The caller will then ask the victim to wire funds to be used to cover bail, attorney’s fees or some other expense. In some cases, the perpetrator will offer to send someone to the residence to collect cash.
In grandparent scams, scammers pose as panicked grandchildren in trouble, calling or sending messages urging you to wire money immediately. They’ll say they need cash to help with an emergency – like paying a hospital bill or needing to leave a foreign country. They pull at your heartstrings so they can trick you into sending money before you realize it’s a scam. In these days of Coronavirus concerns, their lies can be particularly compelling. But we all need to save our money for the real family emergencies.
So, how can we avoid grandparent scams or family emergency scams? If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a grandchild, other family member or friend desperate for money:
- Resist the urge to act immediately – no matter how dramatic the story is.
- Verify the caller’s identity. Ask questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer. Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine. Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
- Don’t send cash, gift cards, or money transfers – once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone!