Alarming new twist on grandparent scam emerges

Alarming new twist on grandparent scam emerges

We’ve discussed the grandparent scam before. It’s when a scammer will call an elderly person claiming to be one of their grandchildren who has been arrested and needs bail money. The victim then will wire the money before realizing that their grandchild is safe and had not been arrested. Scammers often target the elderly in this scam because they count on their victims being more trusting, more willing to answer a call from an unfamiliar number, and not being as tech-savvy as younger segments of the population. Now, there’s been a new twist on the grandparent scam that makes the phony calls seem even more legitimate than before.

People across the state of Missouri have been reporting that they’ve been receiving calls that appear like they’re coming from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The calls appear on the victim’s phone as either ‘US Government’ or ‘US District Court’. The caller then poses as a grandchild asking for money to help get them out of jail. Phone numbers purporting to be from agencies like this can be easily spoofed, however, these spoofed numbers add a degree of pressure and urgency in order to try to get the victim to send money as quickly as possible.

Advocacy groups like the AARP recommend asking the caller something that only they would know. While this can go a long way in preventing fraud it’s not infallible as scammers can gather these details from social media. Instead, if you receive one of these calls you should above all else remain calm. If you can’t discern if this is actually one of your grandchildren calling, call someone in your family who would know the whereabouts of the relative in question and ask where this person currently is. This way if it does turn out to be an actual emergency you can respond in an appropriate manner.