Massachusetts Should Be Cautious of “Grandma, I Need Help” Messages
With an abundance of scams that take place on a daily basis, it can be difficult to decipher which messages are legitimate and which ones are bogus. One scam that has been going around Massachusetts for quite a few years and is still out there is known as the emergency scam or the grandparent scam.
What Exactly is the Grandparent Scam?
The grandparent scam is when someone calls (or in some cases emails) an elderly person claiming to be his or her grandchild. The fake grandchild usually is in some type of distress which could be a situation with the law, a car broken down, a motor vehicle accident, etc. The criminal will ask the elderly person to send or wire money in order for the situation to be resolved. The scammer will pull on the heartstrings of the person on the line by putting on a convincing act with methods of urgency, sobbing, and pleading. Add to that the criminal will likely know information about the elderly person and his or her relationship to the grandchild which makes it even more convincing that the phone call and situation is legitimate. Once the elderly individual follows through with sending the money, the individual has been scammed out of a large sum of money. In many cases thousands of dollars.
Massachusetts is Not Immune to Receiving and Even Falling for the Grandparent Scam
As mentioned earlier the grandparent scam has been happening in Massachusetts for quite a few years. There was one incident earlier this year where police in Norwood were searching for a man who actually drove an elderly person to the bank to withdraw money as the victim thought the situation was legitimate. You can read more about that story by going here. In addition, at the end of 2022, Massachusetts authorities broke up an alleged scam ring and arrested three people in Massachusetts due to their roles in the country-wide grandparent scam which cost victims thousands of dollars. Furthermore, one of the employees in our company (Townsquare Media) who was too smart for the scam but played along actually captured the conversation on his phone. This attempt took place in Berkshire County. You can listen to the audio below and read the whole story here.
The point behind all of this is that the grandparent scam is still going on and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) along with the authorities want you to protect yourself. According to the BBB, here are some tips that will help prevent you and your loved ones from falling for the grandparent scam.
Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Check out the story with other family and friends, but hang up or close the message and call your loved one directly. Don’t call the phone number provided by the caller or caller ID. Ask questions that would be hard for an impostor to answer correctly.
Know what your family members are sharing online. You may not have control over your family's social media accounts but familiarize yourself with what they share online.
Don't wire any money if there is any doubt about the call. If a person wires money and later realizes it is a fraud, the police must be alerted.
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