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Someone Called My Grandmother Pretending To Be Me

If you are here to learn a little about reasons associated with spam calls to your grandparents for bail money or wondering how to stop them or make a report to remedy this situation and keep your grandparents safe to the best extent possible, then perfect! You have found the right article.

In this article, I’m going to give you all the facts that you need to know so that I can help you out and benefit the most.

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What Do The Bail Scams Mean

Why call the grandparents

Because a scam artist knows very well that most grandparents rarely say no to their grandchildren.

When a scammer has access to a consumer’s personal information, they use it or sell it to cyber thieves or criminals. A story is made to use in an impersonation on a phone call to the loving grandparents to create an urgent need to help their grandchildren in a fake financial crisis.

This puts the grandparents in a fearful need to act immediately. The caller “spoofs” the caller identification (ID), so the incoming call looks like it’s coming from a source that is trusted.

This is also done frequently through the use of email, text messages, and social media, so be aware. 

Since the coronavirus has been around the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FBI have warned of increasing scams preying on lockdown or elderly in a vulnerable and emotional way while striking a fear to act quickly as the caller instructs so the innocent senior can help their loved ones and the guilt if they were to say no.

Warnings by FTC and FBI

The FTC reported announced that from 2015 to the 1st quarter of 2020 they had over 91,000 reports of fraudsters posing as a relative of the victim. 

Eight people were only charged in a July 2021 federal indictment that they allegedly were running a nationwide scam network that had succeeded in frauding more than 70 older Americans out of around $2 million between 2019 and 2020. 

The FBI claims this happens often, and even sometimes the caller with a phony attorney or authority states the need immediately before matters become worse, like a serious car accident or just arrested for drunk driving.  

This tactic presses the elderly to put cash into an envelope to be picked up at the grandparents’ home by a courier at a designated time which many times is a ride-share company that retrieves the cash.

Many instances that are similar have happened. The United States Postal Inspection Service has tried to share stories to raise public awareness of this type of crime.

What You Should Know To Be Safer

Normally these fraudsters target a senior and then call or email the unsuspecting grandparents an urgent request for things like bail money, hospital bills, lawyer’s fees, or other fake expenses. 

Sometimes they just wait on the phone a moment and the grandparent accidentally says something like, Robert is that you? and starts in on the con.

From Social Media, they use personal details on those sites to incorporate into the conversation to immediately gain the trust of the unsuspecting grandparent and to speed up the fear and need for cash asap.

Many times they say there is a lawyer or police officer or doctor that will explain everything to the grandparents if you call them or hand the phone to another fake person to pose as the authority that ultimately convinces the grandparents to act immediately. 

More Typical Fraud Behavior

Sometimes for example they say on the phone call, “so I’m not publicly embarrassed please don’t tell mom and dad or anyone about this because you are the most trusted person I know”, continually preying on the senior’s emotions.

In over half of all reports it’s typically about needing emergency money because of being in jail or other legal trouble or drunk driving and a car accident. 

Usually adding there will be mounting fees and heightened trouble if you don’t pay immediately to calm things down according to their lawyer they just spoke to whom is also a fake lawyer in cahoots. 

The scammers are expert actors in impersonating people that they have never met before. Explaining in an uncontrolled sobbing voice about a car accident injury or jail in which also helps to explain why their voice is a little different than the grandparents might normally recognize to again further mask the emergency request for bank information or immediate cash.

Tips to Quickly Spot a Fraudster Grandparent Call

These fraudsters specifically target grandparents because of their love for their grandchildren. 

The person explains in a frantic-sounding voice

  • There’s been a robbery or an accident, or I’m in jail
  • Sometimes say they are hospitalized
  • Because of Coronavirus, they are stuck in a foreign country

Because of CoronaVirus, they scare the Grandparents for example;

“Grandpa, Help, I’m stuck in the hospital sick so please, please wire me money now or they won’t discharge me to come home”.

Or “I’m stuck overseas, please send money asap”.

They will pull at your heartstrings so they can get you to emotionally and quickly send the cash they ask for immediately and when you find out that it’s a scam, it’s too late. 

After the grandparents send the money, it’s too late, the scammers disappear, and the grandparents lose hundreds or thousands of dollars.

In any of these scenarios, the best thing to do is simply hang up and report the call.

Share this with the people around you as you just might help keep this situation from happening to them, too.

Always remember, never give your personal information over the phone to anyone! 

Update only through proper channels to be safe.

Warning Signs

Many times the scammer already knows a lot about you and/or the person that they are impersonating from their research of personal details from their social media accounts or even hacking your email accounts. This could include your name and where you live and more. 

No matter what, it’s always an emergency that needs to be addressed now by paying through wiring money, sending money orders, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or reloadable cards.

  • They usually say it’s urgent and you’re the only one that can help.
  • Saying it needs to be a secret, or at least until the other family members find out but by then it’s too late
  • The fake person claims to be your grandchild and franticly asks you to send money immediately.
  • The National Consumers League warns that scammers feel an elderly person may get confused more easily if they call late at night.
  • The biggest ploy is to bring on a second person on the call like a fake doctor, police, or lawyer to sound more convincing and strike fear into the urgency of sending money immediately before it’s too late.

They want you to act without investigating because of the urgency. 

Beware of calls like these.

Tips To Be Aware of Grandparent Fraudster Calls 

After the grandparents send the money, it’s too late, the scammers disappear, and the grandparents lose hundreds or thousands of dollars.

No matter what, asking for your money to be sent immediately should tip you off that it’s a fraud call.

In any of these scenarios, the best thing to do is simply hang up and report the call.

Share this with the people around you as you just might help keep this situation from happening to them, too.

Always remember, never give your personal information over the phone to anyone! 

Update only through proper channels to be safe.

The (FTC) Federal Trade Commission says to report immediately and if you have mailed cash to immediately report to the Postal Service or whatever means of the shipping company was used.

Steps to Follow If You Get A Grandparent Fraud Call

The caller will be pressing you to quickly send them money so,

  • Stay calm and absolutely resist any pressure being pushed upon you by the fraudster.
  • Ask and verify the identity of the caller. 
  • Remember they have researched your social media, so simply ask some questions that this scammer couldn’t possibly know the answers to.
  • Immediately call and/or message the family member or friend that the fraudsters are claiming to be. Call the number that you are used to contacting that family member, not the one that is on your caller ID from the fraudster or the phone number that the fraudster might give you.
  • Even though they tell you to keep a secret, call other family members or someone in your circle of friends, especially if the one in supposed trouble isn’t answering your phone calls. Those trusted family or friends can help you determine the truth before you lose possible hundreds or thousands of dollars to a scammer.

If you did send money and find out it’s a scam beware that the ways the scammers ask for money make it hard to get your money back so the sooner you act the better.

Tips To Avoid These Grandparent Fraudsters

A list of What To Do

  • On your Social Media account settings, change settings so that only the people you know have access to your photos and posts. This should be done on all Facebook or Instagram or any social network for your family that you all use so they can’t fool you.
  • Hang up immediately and call the grandchild to see if there is really any danger.
  • Contact other family members or friends to help determine the truth and don’t listen to the fraudster who is telling you to keep the situation a secret so you won’t try to confirm the illegitimate call.
  • If someone you speak to claims to be an actual police officer then call that law enforcement agency to verify the person’s identity especially a normal real police officer wouldn’t be helping to demand money immediately from you, it’s unethical. 
  • The American Bar Association actually advises you to trust in your natural instincts. You know that feeling when it doesn’t feel right.

A list of What Not To Do

Just because the caller ID looks like a number you recognize try to stay alert and not drop your guard. This is done to make you think that this call is actually from a government agency or your relative. 

It’s called Spoofing your caller ID. It also is sad because it leads you to believe that it will be okay to answer the questions by the fraudster.

  • If you don’t recognize a number on your caller ID, you can click this link here by the (FCC) Federal Communications Commission to read more before a fraudster calls you.
  • Don’t give any information and make it easier for the fraudster. For example, if the caller says to you, It’s me, grandma! then don’t say your grandchild’s name, instead, wait for the caller to say the proper name.
  • Don’t be rushed into any decision, especially to send money immediately.
  • At the end of the day, never send money immediately, especially under duress or pressure, and take a moment to investigate.
  • Don’t panic and emotionally act quickly because that’s exactly what the fraudster wishes you to do by distracting you and not figuring out it’s a con.

Report Fraud

Have you seen this scam?

Did you know that The (FTC) Federal Trade Commission has tracked more than 15,000 complaints regarding this kind of fraudster calls? The actual amount of money in cash of an average scam is been reported at around $9,000. Most frauds are usually under $500, so as you see this is a very frequent and important happening to be aware of.

This grandparent scam situation is actually getting worse and on the rise. The (FTC) also reported that the total losses to families and friends imposters by fraudsters have increased over the past year reaching $41 million compared to the previous year.

With losses more than doubling, the need for vigilance is paramount. 

File Complaint With The FTC or FCC

Reports can also be filed with the following agencies.

  • You can call 1-888-382-4357
  • You might also want to notify your state’s attorney general and consumer protection office.
  • Report Fraud to The (FTC) Federal Trade Commission
  • Consumers who receive spoofed calls they believe are fraudulent – in any language – can report such calls to the FCC. Complaints can be filed, at no cost through, the FCC Consumer Complaint Center 
  • You can learn additional information about this and other imposter scams at FTC.gov/imposters
  • Additional information about fraud prevention can be found online at AARP Fraud Watch Network  
  • or by calling AARP at 1-877-908-3360
  • A report can be made at AARP’s Scam-Tracking Map
  • You can also sign up for the Watchdog Alerts on AARP that give you more tips on avoiding these scams.

Additional Resources

  • If you did already send money because of a fraudster via Western Union, then you should call their fraud hotline (800-448-1492) just as soon as it’s possible. 
  • If you did already send money because of a fraudster via MoneyGram call (800-926-9400) as soon as possible.

If your money transfer by Western Union Or MoneyGram has not yet been paid, you quite possibly have the chance to still stop the transaction and get a refund of your money.

When you file a complaint about a live person or a message, state the date of the illegal call and the phone number.

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