In 2018, the FTC says senior citizens were scammed out of more than $40 million in the grandparent scam. You might wonder why so many seniors fall for this scam. It's the way it is presented.
The Caller Does His or Her Research
Before placing the call, the scammer does some research. Using the internet, the scammer searches for family members who are linked to the elderly victim. Genealogy sites are a great place to find family connections. Once there are names and relationships available, searches of social media sites can find pictures.
Scammers are able to use any posts or pictures that aren't set to private. This can help a scammer see if a grandchild is on vacation, away at college, or living in another city. With this information in hand, the scam is next.
With all of this information, scammers build a story. It might be that the grandchild is on vacation and was arrested or is at college and had his or her wallet/purse stolen. There's an urgent need for money to be wired or mailed.
To account for any differences in how the “grandchild” sounds, scammers will say they have a cold or have cried so much they wore their vocal cords out. Some grandparents never even consider the difference. The difference can also be explained by having the caller be a doctor, lawyer, or police officer.
What can you do to help your parent avoid the grandparent scam? Make sure your parent doesn't answer the phone. This is especially important if your parent has dementia. Elderly care aides can be around throughout the day to answer the phone for your parent and monitor for scams.
Ask a Safety Question
If the call does get through to your parent, make sure your mom or dad know to ask a safety question. The question and answer must be something that the grandparent and grandchild know. It can be something like “what was your favorite snack in kindergarten” or “what color was the grandparent's oven?”
If the caller refuses to let your parent talk to the grandchild, hang up. If the caller doesn't know the safety question, hang up. Once the phone call ends, call authorities to report the scam. Giving phone numbers and caller ID information can help.
If your parent isn't lonely, there's less of a chance that your mom or dad will spend time on the phone. Caregivers can help out by providing companionship. Your parent has someone to talk to and doesn't need the interaction on the phone. Call us today to talk about the many benefits of home care for your aging parent.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDERLY CARE IN ROCKY MOUNT, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.