A grandparent scam is a type of impostor scam. Fraudsters call claiming to be a family member who needs money immediately for an emergency. They may have information about you, including your name and where you live. They’ll claim to be stranded, in jail, or require help paying medical bills.
Scammers will beg you for money, ask you to keep it a secret, and urge you to act quickly. Usually, they will tell you to wire money, pay with gift cards, or send cryptocurrency. Stop! Don’t pay—it’s a scam! If you send money, you won’t be able to get it back.
Confirm the caller. Fraudsters are using social networking sites to gain the personal information of friends and relatives to carry out their crimes. Verify who’s calling by contacting the person directly on a known number, or consult a trusted family member.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Fraudsters want to execute their crimes quickly. In this type of scam, they count on fear and your concern for your loved one to make you act before you think. The more questions you ask, the more inclined they will be to ditch the scam if they suspect you’re on to them.
Never give personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and you trust the other party.
Never rush into a financial decision. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. It’s not rude to say no and get more information, or decline to act.
Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.