Watch out for family and friends phone scams

Posted at 8:15 AM, Dec 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-15 09:39:55-05

If you get a call from someone posing as a grandchild, niece, nephew, or good friend desperately asking for money, watch out. It could be a scam. Here are a few signs that the call may not be legitimate:

The scammer starts the call by asking “Grandma? Grandpa? Aunt? Uncle?” Or they just use your first name. They say they are in trouble, and need money to be wired, cash sent via a shipping service, or they may tell you to purchase a prepaid card such as an I-tunes or Google Play, and ask you to provide information from the back of the card. They might also tell you that they do not sound like themselves because they have a bad cold, broken nose, or bad connection. They will often tell you not to tell anyone that they are in trouble, and may involve other scammers who pose as a police officer or some other person to convince you that the call and predicament is real.

If you get a call like this, it is a good idea to check things out before you send money or provide sensitive information. If you do not feel comfortable with just hanging up, ask for a number for you to call back, or have them call you later so that you can check a few things out. Ask questions that only your loved one and you would know the answer to such as the middle name of a family member. If they cannot answer the questions, or you suspect something is a scam, hang up and alert authorities. Your information could prevent others from being scammed.