The next time you receive a call from a relative asking for money, be sure that person is who he or she claims to be.
In a recent scam, a senior received a call from a person pretending to be her grandson. The caller told the woman he had been arrested and needed bail money to be released from jail. To prove he was telling the truth, the caller handed the phone to another man who claimed to be a detective. The detective said the woman’s grandson was indeed in jail and would only be released if she mailed $10,000 in cash to the department for bail.
Fearing for her grandson’s well-being, the senior went to her bank, withdrew the money, and sent it via expedited courier service to the address provided by the detective.
A few days after she send the bail money, the senior called her grandson to ask if he was okay. Her confused grandson said he hadn’t been in jail and never asked for bail money. That’s when the senior realized she had been scammed.
If someone calls you and claims to be a relative who needs money, write down the information provided by the caller and tell him or her you will see what you can do. Once you’re off the phone with the caller, call the person back using the phone number you already have in your possession for the person. Ask if that individual just called you. If not, call the police and report the incident. Be sure to provide the police with the contact information the scammer gave you.
Don’t use the phone number provided by the caller to verify the caller’s identity. If the caller is a scammer, you’ll only be in contact with the scammer and not your relative. Keep a list of telephone phone numbers for relatives available just in case you need them. Call only the telephone numbers on this list if you need to reach that relative.
Scammers are devious and will say anything to convince you to send them your hard-earned money. President Ronald Reagan said multiple times, “trust, but verify.” If you ever receive a call or letter asking for cash, gift cards, or money orders from a relative in a tough situation, take time to verify that person’s identity. Those few extra minutes you spend verifying a person’s identity can help keep your money out of a criminal’s hands.