HOUSTON – Even during this pandemic, you can’t let your guard down. If you’re a grandparent or if you have elderly parents, make sure you know about the “Family Emergency Scam” and the “Grandparent Scam.”
The end goal in both is to get your money and they share some of the same tactics.
Recognizing the scams
- They start with a phone call.
- The caller claims to be a grandchild or relative in some sort of trouble.
- They make a plea for money, but ask you to keep it quiet.
Debbie Kerschen’s 82-year-old mother received a phone call from a man who said he was her grandson, Joshua. The caller even called the woman by her family nickname, Memaw.
The fake Joshua told the grandmother that he was in jail and needed bail money. He made up an elaborate story about how he landed in jail.
“A pregnant lady had hit me and I was the one that got hit but I got taken to jail because I had a suspended license,” the real Joshua explained the story his grandmother was told. “All this stuff to tug at her heartstrings.”
When the senior told the caller she didn’t have $6,400 to bail him out of jail, he called back and told her the judge lowered his bail to $800.
Fortunately, she didn't fall for the scam. If you follow this advice from the Federal Trade Commission, you won't either.
Protect yourself by doing this
- Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story.
- Verify the caller’s identity by asking them something only your family member would know.