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Finances December 26, 2023

'Grandparent' Scams: Remain Vigilant

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To put it bluntly – scammers are cruel and heartless. They have taken a liking to preying on the elderly in a scam increasing in popularity called, “The Grandparent Scam”. Here’s how they do it: scammers are calling the elderly, pretending to be a family member in a crisis, and asking for financial aid. Common situations being manipulated are that the family member is in the hospital, in legal trouble, or stuck in a foreign country.

Scammers either claim to be calling on behalf of the family member in question or are posing to be them. How do they do this? AI is a powerful tool that can mimic voices from a short audio sample. The scammers are able to hold full conversations by typing responses into the AI system for it to speak back in the person’s voice.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be a loved one in distress, take steps to ensure you are indeed talking to that person. Ask the caller questions that only that person would know. When in doubt, hang up, and call your loved one directly. If it turns out to be an imposter, hang up and report it to the police immediately. You can also report unwanted or imposter spam calls to the Federal Trade Commission ftc.gov/complaint. If the call leaves you wondering if your family member really is in trouble, contact them directly to check in. The best way to avoid falling victim to scams like this is to be aware when someone calls asking for personal information and/or money.

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