As summer starts, the scammers roll out the “Grandma (or Grandpa), I’m in jail…” scam. This scam has been around for awhile, but it’s still convincing.
Here’s how it goes…
A person calls you and they claim to be an Attorney. They use a technique they get from mind reading magicians and ask you if you have a grandchild. You unwittingly say “yes” and often give them your grandchild’s or all your grandchildren’s names. They then inform you that your grandchild (using the name you gave them) is in jail.
If you ask for proof, they have a male or female ready to put on the phone. The person will be speaking with their nose plugged. If you comment that it doesn’t sound like your grandchild, they will say it is because they have been crying (or they’re sick). They get you to go to Western Union (at a drugstore nearby) to wire money to get your grandchild out of jail. When you talk to your real grandchild, you find out it wasn’t them.
If you get a call from a number you don’t recognize, the best course of action is just don’t answer. If it is important, the caller will leave a message. I always leave messages (even if I get a wrong number).
If for some reason you answer, make sure before you send money that you make a separate check-in with your grandchild. Some people are suggesting setting up a safe word. That could help.
The best advice is DON’T SEND MONEY BY WESTERN UNION!
NEVER SEND MONEY WITHOUT CHECKING OUT THE STORY.