91-year-old man taken in grandparent scam

91-year-old man taken in grandparent scam

If you haven’t heard of the grandparent scam it can be a particularly heartbreaking story. The scam targets the elderly and how it works is that the scammer will call their target pretending to be one of their grandchildren. They will ask the grandparent for money claiming they’re in some kind of jam such as being in jail or an emergency room. They’ll also ask the grandparent not to say anything to the parents because they’re too embarrassed when in reality it’s just to keep the target’s adult children from finding out about the scam. Scammers 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.

Unfortunately, a 91-year-old man from Indiana was scammed out of almost $3,000 in one of these scams. He received a call from someone claiming to be his grandson who claimed to be in jail and needed bail money. The phone was then handed over to someone pretending to be the arresting officer who instructed the man that bail could be paid with eBay gift cards. The man ended up buying $2,600 worth of gift cards in two separate trips to his local supermarket. The man then gave the gift card serial numbers to the scammers. Even after thew scammers got the money from their victim, they kept calling him asking for more money. His daughter finally intervened and had his calls forwarded to her line where she confronted the scammers. Sadly, the money the man spent will more than likely not be recovered.

We know we say this a lot but that’s only because it’s such a common trait in most scams; don’t ever pay for anything over the phone with gift cards. If you or a family member receive a call like this and they ask for payment in gift cards or prepaid debit cards it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam. You should also handle these phone calls calmly if you receive one and don’t give in to the pressure the caller will try to apply. If they claim to be a family member, ask them something that only that family member would know. You should also call another relative who is more familiar with that person’s current location to make sure they’re not in any kind of trouble. And if you have elderly friends or relatives, especially if they live alone, please share this information with them so they can better handle any scam calls they might receive.