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How to Avoid a Grandparent Scam and How to Help Your Elderly Relatives


grandparent scam

Pensioners Are the Most Vulnerable Victims of Fraudsters

grandparent scam calls

The grandparent scam is one of the most popular types of scams. Anyone can become a victim of scammers, but the most vulnerable are the elderly. They lack communication, they do not always know modern technologies, and cannot immediately ask for help. And they are also gullible and open to strangers – this is what scammers use. There is a whole category of swindlers who specialize in retirees. If you don’t know what to do with grandparent scams, then this article is for you.

What Is the Grandparent Scam and How Scammers Cheat Pensioners

grandparent phone scam

Fraud is a criminal offense where a victim gives property or money to a perpetrator.

Usually – voluntarily, because of deception. Swindlers deceive pensioners both through personal contact and remotely.

With personal contact

Such criminals lie in wait in shopping centers and persuade them to be examined for free, and then impose expensive treatment. Or they go to apartments and offer to adjust the windows, remove cockroaches, improve karma and buy a miraculous device to reduce pressure. In this case, the pensioner gives the money in cash.

Classic swindlers are very persuasive: they carry fake papers with seals, documents, and IDs. And sometimes contracts for the provision of services with non-existent organizations. They never raise their voices, treat them with respect, are ready for a long and detailed conversation. They also always know what the problem is and are ready to help. It’s hard not to believe that.

Remote (grandparent scam calls)

Fraudsters use the phone, the Internet, pages on social networks, and unfair advertising for fraud. And the money is received for e-wallets and bank cards issued in the name of dummies. They do not need special spyware: it is expensive and difficult, and pensioners themselves blur out data to transfer money.

Most often, retirees are bred using electronic payments or their data is used.

Fraud with electronic payments is when a pensioner loses money through bank cards, virtual wallets. For example, if they call him allegedly from the bank, ask for card details, and steal money from the account.

Identity fraud is when it is stolen or altered to obtain property rights. For example, they issue an electronic signature for a pensioner and sign a contract for the sale and purchase of their property themselves.

How to Prevent Grandparent Scam

grandparent scam what to do

You can help your grandparents avoid grandparent scams. To protect grandparents from swindlers, relatives try to restrict access of strangers to them and constantly talk about fraudulent schemes. But intimidating and locking up grandma is not an option. Better to interfere with fraudsters in other ways.

Advice not to talk to strangers and not to open the door to anyone will never work. Seniors are not prisoners. And it is impossible to control such a regime.

The most reliable way to protect loved ones is to make it difficult for fraudsters to work so that it is difficult for them to steal money, get into the apartment of a pensioner, and generally make contact with him. And if this happens, create conditions for the police to quickly find the criminals. Now we will tell you about the most common fraud schemes and how deal with them.

Grandparent Phone Scam (Someone Called My Grandma Asking for Money)

grandchild to grandparent phone scam

What they say:

  • Grandma / Grandpa, I am in trouble! We need money for a bribe/treatment/compensation for the victim. (this particular case is called grandchild to grandparent phone scam)
  • This is the bank’s security service, suspicious activity has been detected on your card, let’s cancel the operation. Dictate the card number, expiration date, and pin code.
  • You are entitled to compensation, payments, allowances, and transfers from the budget. You just need to pay the commission.
  • This is from the clinic. You have a bad diagnosis – you require medicines and magic medical devices, now we will deliver them.
  • Take part in a win-win lottery.

What the fraudsters require: card details to transfer money: number, expiration date, and CVV – a three-digit code on the back of the card. Pensioners dictate all information by voice.

In apartments

What they say:

  • We are from the gas service, we urgently need to change the meter.
  • We are from a window company, let’s adjust the windows.
  • There are cockroaches and bugs in the house, sanitation is required.
  • For retirees, we have discounted equipment/medicines/dishes.
  • You are entitled to a free medical examination at home.
  • Sign the petition for justice. The inscription “loan agreement” is just such a form.

What the fraudsters need: force them to sign a loan agreement, it is very expensive to sell a useless product or trick them into cash.

In medical and shopping centers

What they say:

  • There is a loan for you on favorable terms. Don’t tell your grandchildren – buy them gifts and surprise them.
  • In our medical center for you there are free diagnostics under the state program. Your illness is serious, and treatment is expensive. But in the next office, you can get a loan on favorable terms.
  • For retirees, we run a free exchange trading course. Now we will tell you which stocks to buy so that you have enough for a comfortable old age and your grandchildren for gifts.

What the fraudsters require: force them to sign a contract that will have dire consequences. Or take a large sum of money from my grandmother for a fake treatment.

How to Spot and Avoid Grandparent Scam

grandparent scam help
  • Call more often, visit elderly relatives, and ask how they are doing. Then they will rather listen to you than fall for the tricks of swindlers.
  • Stories about scammers help badly: new schemes appear every day, and grandmothers do not always recognize them. You shouldn’t even lock a pensioner at home – he’s not a prisoner.
  • Convince an elderly relative to receive money on a bank card, and not in cash.
  • Tie grandmother’s bank card to a separate number and block outgoing SMS on it.
  • Remember and erase the three-digit code on the back of the pensioner’s bank card. And set a limit on cash withdrawals.
  • Lock the pensioner’s passport in the safe in his apartment. When the document is needed, the pensioner will call you and ask for the code.
  • Control the calls and expenses of the pensioner through the applications of banks and mobile operators.
  • Install a video peephole or an alarm in the pensioner’s apartment. Alarms come with webcams, motion sensors, and key fobs with an alarm button. If something happens, you will receive a call. Now, knowing more about how to prevent grandparent scams, you can protect your close relatives.
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