Tuesday, January 1, 2019
The grandparent scam has been around for a while. According to the FTC, the bad guys have morphed the scam to make it harder to catch. New twist on popular 'grandparent scam': mail cash explains that "people 70 and older report mailing huge amounts of cash to people who pretended to be their grandchildren... [and] ... – fully 25% of people 70 and over who reported to the FTC how they paid money told [the FTC] they sent cash." (citations omitted). The FTC noted that these grandparent scams are also called friends & family impostor scams.
How do the bad guys convince victims to send cash? The blog post explains that "callers often give very specific instructions about how to send cash. Many people said they were told to divide the bills into envelopes and place them between the pages of a magazine. Then, according to reports, they were told to send them using various carriers, including UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service." The post does give some advice:
Don’t act right away, no matter how dramatic the story is.
Call that family member or friend, and make sure you use a phone number that you know is right. Or check it out with someone else in your circle, even if the caller told you to keep it a secret.
Be careful about what you post on social media. If your personal details are public, someone can use them to defraud you and people who care about you.
If you’ve mailed cash, report it right away to the Postal Service or whichever shipping company you used. Some people have been able to stop delivery by acting quickly and giving a tracking number. Also tell the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.
BTW, the FTC website notes that the agency is closed because of the government shut down. Hopefully the bad guys aren't reading this post or checking out the FTC website.