Appeals for Help

This scam usually involves a call for help from a person claiming to be a family member, e.g., a grandson, who says he’s been arrested or hospitalized and needs cash quickly in the form of a money-wire transfer but is afraid to call his parents.  Scammers often get the names of family members from obituaries or social networking sites on the Internet.  You can protect yourself by doing the following:

  • If a caller says he’s your grandson, ask which one.  But don’t provide a name.  Most scammers will hang up.
  • Ask a question that only your grandson would be able to answer correctly.
  • Confirm your grandson’s location and identity by saying you will return his call at his home or on his cell phone, but don’t ask for the numbers.  Get them from a trusted family member.
  • Never provide bank account, credit card, or debit card numbers to any caller.
  • Be very suspicious of any requests for money wires.