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How to Protect Yourself From the Grandparent Scam

All across the country, Grandparents and others are hearing from relatives in distress. The relative – most commonly a grandchild – says he’s been in a terrible accident or has been arrested. Only you, he says, can help him out of the jam. But this isn’t your grandchild. He’s a criminal, almost always calling from overseas, engaged in a popular scam that can extract hundreds, even thousands, from your pocketbook.

See Also: AARP on Scams and Frauds

Scammers know that when a relative is injured, arrested or suffers some other kind of setback and calls pleading for money to be transferred by wire, your instincts tell you to help. When the situation is urgent, criminals know you’re likely to spring into action. But don’t. Here’s why: once you wire money, you will not get it back.

What’s called “the grandparent scam,” and its many variations, is going strong. In fact, such schemes are growing more sophisticated. The dollar figures involved are increasing, too. In April, a Sammamish, Washington couple lost nearly $90,000 over several days to a caller who they believed was their grandson.
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