We’ve previously chronicled the rise of the grandparent scam, wherein a telephone scammer poses as a relative or grandchild and calls an elderly person, citing an emergency and asking him or her to send money or account information immediately.
So, how do these scams work? Frequently, a caller will make contact and when the target answers the phone, the caller will respond with: “Hi, Grandma” or “Hi, Grandpa,” in hopes to establish a connection that will confuse the elderly phone victim and make him or her more likely to share their financial information or wire money to the fraudster. These con artists usually concoct a scheme where they pose as a grandchild and may say something along the lines of, “My car broke down and in order to get it fixed and come home, I need money,” or may pretend to need bail money, or that they’ve been mugged. Sensing an emergency, the elder may supply their personal financial information to the caller, unknowingly playing into the hands of the con-artists.
Unfortunately, this scheme is sometimes extended, as the personal information of the victim is shared with other scam organizations who may place follow-up calls, promising that your money can be returned if you follow a few steps. Many of these fraudulent caller organizations work in tandem to take advantage of elderly citizens. The sad news is that in San Diego and around the country, telemarketing and call scams are on the rise, and prove to be a real danger for the financial stability of America’s elder population.
How can you guard yourself or a loved one against becoming a victim of one of these Grandparent scams? For starters, if you receive a call or e-mail from someone who is asking for money, or demanding financial or identifying information, you have no obligation to comply. Always question the legitimacy of these communications and do not be afraid to ask questions so that the caller or e-mailer specifically identifies him or herself. Likewise, you can report unwanted soliciting e-mails or calls to the government, who can investigate the sources of these scams.
Other tips to keep in mind to combat phone and e-mail scams include:
- Do not provide any payment information (like account or routing numbers, credit card or debit card numbers, or online banking passwords) to anyone over the phone, by mail, or by e-mail.
- Do not agree to claim any sort of sweepstakes or prize. This is a common tact used by scammers to trick their targets into revealing personal information that can be used to extort money or steal an identity.
- Request any and all offers in writing, then consult with your bank or a trusted and knowledgeable family member or official.
For more information on how to avoid telemarketing scams, like the Grandparent scam, visit this previous post in which we detail further steps that can be taken to combat telemarketing fraud. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a fraudulent telemarketing or e-mail scheme, there is recourse available to you under California law. Consult with an experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney who can safeguard your rights and deliver justice today.
Walton Law, APC is a San Diego boutique law firm dedicated exclusively to representing injured parties in the areas of personal injury, nursing home abuse and neglect, and financial elder abuse. We only represent people – not insurance companies – and take pride in our reputation for obtaining full and fair compensation for our clients while providing personalized client service. If you believe somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse in San Diego, CA, please call (866) 338-7079 or visit us online for a free and confidential consultation.