Your BBB® has learned of a new twist to the “grandparent scam.” We’ve described the typical grandparent scam before but in case you are new to it, it has worked like this in the past: A caller phones a grandparent or parent, and either pretends to be a loved one (grandchild or child) or says that a loved one has been in a serious accident or placed in jail for something. They emphasize a sense of urgency and in the end, the caller asks for money, often to be sent via wire transfer, MoneyGram or GreenDot card.
In this new version, the caller claims to have kidnapped a loved one and that the only way to save them is to pay a ransom. The caller is very persistent, makes threats and doesn’t want you to get off the phone and will often demand payment via a credit card right then. This is so that you don’t have time to ask questions or attempt to contact the loved one in question. Here are a few tips if you receive a call similar to this:
1. Remain as calm as you can.
2. Don’t volunteer information. The scammer may or may not have the name of the “relative” in danger. In previous appearances of this scam, the caller would start the conversation with “Hi Grandma.” If you respond by saying “Marcia, is that you?,” the scammer will say “Yes” and then try to pull you into the scam with the pleas for money.
3. Ask to speak to the loved one directly or call them yourself.
4. If someone does get on the phone with you claiming to be your loved one, ask simple questions that only they would know the answer to.
As a reminder, be careful what you put on social media as schemers will use this information to their advantage.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville.
While the BBB endeavors to provide accurate information to the public, changes in the law, facts or circumstances may have occurred since the foregoing was posted. The BBB recommends doing independent research and consulting professional advisors concerning a particular situation.