Grandparent Scams

September 9, 2016

More than 30 Ohioans have reported losing money to the “grandparent scam” this year, after they received a phony call claiming their grandchild was in trouble. The average loss was about $4,000.

The grandparent scam often begins with a phone call saying a grandchild was in an accident, found with drugs, driving under the influence, arrested, or thrown in jail. Grandparents are told to pay to cover bail, medical or hospital fees, attorney fees, or court costs.

The callers generally instruct grandparents to go to the store right away to buy gift cards (such as iTunes or Amazon gift cards) and then read the card numbers over the phone. This allows scammers to drain the cards’ funds almost instantly. Alternatively, grandparents may be asked to pay via money transfer or even cash.

If grandparents pay once, they likely will receive additional calls telling them to send more money to help the grandchild return home safely. Eventually, grandparents discover that their grandchild was not truly in trouble.

Tips to prevent grandparent scams: