Is It A Loved One Or A Scammer Calling? Watch Out For "The Grandchild Scam."
by RSEA TX | February 2, 2024
Scam artists are always adopting new tactics to steal your money. Providing peace of mind is at the heart of AMBA's mission. That's why AMBA provides important updates to help you stay on guard and aware of how to protect yourself. In a new technique, known as "The Grandchild Scam," the fraudsters try to play on your emotions. Your instinct to help your loved one is right. AMBA is here to help you so you won't be led wrong.
There are rising incidents of scam artists pretending that a loved one of yours, such as your grandchild, is in danger. Some common emergency scenarios include a car accident, deferred airline travel, or even that they’re in jail.
By taking advantage of your instinct to protect your loved one, scam artists try to play on your emotions so you don’t think the situation through. But it’s important to make sure the person calling IS your loved one.
What is "The Grandchild Scam"?
You receive a call or text message from someone impersonating a loved one (for example, one of your grandchildren) pretending to be in an emergency. What the fraudster does next is tell you they need you to send money right away and they'll provide instructions on where to send it.
Spotting this scam can be difficult because these callers can “spoof” the caller ID. That means they can make an incoming call appear to be coming from a trusted source with that person’s number. Not only that but technology such as artificial intelligence can convincingly mimic the voices of loved ones.
What to Look Out For:
- "The Grandchild Scam" will start with the fraudster trying to trick you into offering information that they don’t know. For example, they may begin the call by saying, “Hi, Grandma, it’s me!” or, “It’s your grandson”. The hope is that you’ll respond with the name of your grandchild (whom they will then impersonate during the call). But be careful: Scammers can research you online through such means as finding information about you and your loved ones on your social media profiles.
- Scammers don’t want you to speak with a family member who could expose their scheme. If they’re insisting that you don’t tell anyone else what’s going on, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.
- Protect yourself by asking them questions only your loved one will know. If the fraudster refuses to answer, or can’t, beware! It’s a scam. Hang up and call the family member directly to confirm your suspicions.
- Don’t give your address or personal information (and certainly NEVER your banking or any financial information) to anyone who calls you. Scammers are always on the lookout for information they can use against you. Don’t let them have it.
- Make sure your social media settings are private and that you share as little personal information publicly as possible. This will prevent fraudsters from using this information to scam you.
- If they ask for a gift card, this is a red flag. Hang up immediately.
- If they claim to be a police officer or another figure of authority and claim a loved one is in trouble, provide as little information as possible. Hang up and call the precinct directly.
Financial Institution Scam
Like “The Grandchild Scam," where someone impersonates a loved one, the Financial Institution scam involves someone claiming to be from your bank or another financial institution. They will tell you they’ve found fraudulent activity on your account and ask you to transfer money or send a payment elsewhere.
What to Do:
- No financial institution will ever request you to make peer-to-peer payments to correct any fraudulent activity.
- Never send money to anyone who claims your account is compromised or threatens to cut off your services.
- When in doubt, end the call and connect with your bank via legitimate sources, including visiting a branch or calling the number listed on the back of your debit or credit card.
- Report any suspicious activity immediately.
Tricksters’ tactics constantly evolve, but their objective is always the same: to swindle you from your money. AMBA will continue to update you on how to stay safe from scam artists. It’s all part of how AMBA looks out for you, your well-being, and your financial safety every day.
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