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Grandparent Scams

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Grandparent Scams


The scam: Your grandchild is calling from another state or a foreign country and has been arrested, hospitalized or subjected to some other hardship.

The reality: It’s NOT your grandchild calling.

Grandparent Scams are a widespread national scheme that targets older Americans and occurs year-round. Since the caller doesn’t know your grandchild’s name, the caller will greet you by saying: “Hi, it’s your favorite grandson!” so that you can fill in the blanks. Then the caller claims some hardship and urgently requests that money be wired to Canada, Mexico or elsewhere for bailout from the alleged crisis. Don’t take the bait like thousands of loving grandparents have. If you’re not sure, ask for the family safe word (a code word shared by family members for use in emergency situations), or call your grandchild’s home or cell number to ask if there’s a problem. If the caller claims to be a lawyer, police officer, or doctor helping a grandchild in need, a five-minute online search can yield the phone number of the reported law firm, police station or hospital for any call back on your part.

For more information on grandparent scams and other types of scams, please visit

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