Feds: Impostors claim to be grandkids on phone, scam thousands in cash from victims

Published: Dec. 3, 2018 at 6:02 PM EST
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The federal government is warning people about an increasing trend in seniors being scammed out of thousands by people posing as their grandchildren.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning the public about these scams where people call seniors claiming to be a grandchild asking for money. The scammers will get information from social media accounts so they can have enough personal information to get away with the scam. They will often use hardships in order to dupe victims out of thousands of dollars.

The FTC estimates one in four people have mailed cash in response to the scam, and it has led to a total of $41 million lost in 12 months. The year prior, the number who mailed cash was only 1 in 14. The median loss for the scam is $2,000. Seniors are reporting greater losses, as the median loss was $9,000.

Consumer advocates are asking the public to not act right away when receiving a call from someone claiming to be a family member asking for money. You should instead make sure you have the family member's correct phone number or check with another family member. You should also check your privacy settings to prevent people from using your information for malicious purposes.