A common scam that is deliberately aimed at older Americans is referred to as the “grandparent scam.”

In this instance, scammers try to get you to wire money to help your grandchild. Once the money is wired, it is difficult to trace and retrieve.

Scammers do this by playing on your emotions – claiming your grandchild is in trouble and needs your help with money for an emergency (such as getting out of jail; paying a hospital bill; or leaving a foreign country). 

In another version of the scam, someone will call you, pretending to be a police officer, a lawyer, or a doctor who is with your grandchild.  Or, they will simply impersonate your grandchild then hand the phone to their co-scammer who will act as the authority figure to make the scene feel more convincing.  Again, the object of the scam is to prey on your emotions in hopes that you will wire money to help your grandchild. 

Know how to protect yourself: 

Ask some simple questions that only your true grandchild would know.

Ask the grandchild or authority figure to hold on and contact the family member they are claiming to be.

Talk to another family member about the call to help you verify if the call is true before wiring any money. 

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam:

Report the information to the FRAUD Hotline immediately – they will help you with the next steps of where to go and what to do.

Call the appropriate law enforcement agency to improve the government’s data as well as its ability to prosecute the perpetrators of these scams.

Block the phone number.

Screen all incoming calls.

Report immediately all calls you feel were fraudulent to the FRAUD Hotline: 1-855-303-9470

If you are interested in learning more about these scam calls and where to report them, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.