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The Perils of Grandparenting

Last update on: Feb 02 2017

Grandparents are frequent targets of scams and cons. The scams leverage their status as grandparents to extract money from the seniors. The scams are so widespread and growing that the FTC has issued a warning about them. The general approach is the same. An individual claiming to be a grandchild contacts the grandparent and claims to be in some kind of distress, needing money or a credit card number immediately. Panic and urgency are keys to making the scams work. For more details read here.

“It’s everywhere. It’s an epidemic,” said Jean Mathisen, manager of the AARP’s Fraud Fighter call center, which has fielded hundreds of calls about grandparent scams so far this year.

While law enforcement officials have been cracking down on grandparent scammers operating out of boiler rooms in Canada, new criminals continue to pop up, said Steven Baker, director for the FTC’s Midwest Region.

Exactly how much has been lost to these scammers is unknown, but it’s estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars or more. One Michigan couple lost $33,000 of their life savings when a man pretending to be their grandson called, asking for cash to help him pay a fine and post bond to get him out of a Canadian jail.

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