WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Senior citizens throughout our community are being targeted by scammers. The scam is commonly called, "The Grandparent Scam."
The grandparent scam is when an unidentified caller calls a grandparent, pretending to be their grandchild. Scammers will make up elaborate and compelling stories, in which the grandparent is made to believe that their grandchild is in trouble. The scammer's objective is to take advantage of the concerned grandparent and steal their money. The scammer will give specific instructions to the grandparent in how to make a wired transaction.
Sometimes scammers will contact people randomly. They also use mailing lists, telephone lists, and information from social networking sites, obituaries and other sources. They will even hack into people's email accounts and send messages to everyone in their contact list.
Scammers are not required to show identification, so it's impossible to trace them. Wiring money is not like a credit card or a check. Once the wired transaction has been picked up, the money is gone.
To better protect and prepare yourself, the following steps are very important to secure your money:
- Ask questions that would be hard for a scammer to answer correctly.
- Do not give them private/personal information.
- Contact the person they claim to be directly.
- Do not send money unless you are sure it is the person you know.
- Do not listen when they tell you it is a secret – Tell someone.
If you believe that you have been victimized of the grandparent scam, call the police immediately.
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