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What is a Grandparent Scam?

A typical grandparent scam, fraudster exploit trust and love between grandparents and their grandchildren.  They often pose as a grandchild or other family member in distress, claiming to be stranded in a foreign location or facing legal troubles.  In some scenarios, the fraudster will pose as a third party attempting to help their grandchild get out of sticky situation.  The scammer then urgently requests money to resolve the supposed emergency, often insisting that the situation be kept secret.

Red Flags to watch out for:

  • Urgency of Request- Scammers often create a sense of urgency to pressure victims into acting hastily.
  • Secrecy- The individual requests that information about the wire transfer be kept confidential.
  • Unknown Requestor- Your member references that they received a phone call or email prompting them to send money.

Tips to Protect Members:

  • Verify Identity- Before sending the wire transfer, ensure your member has independently confirmed the identity of the person contacting them.  Encourage them to reach out to another family member to corroborate the situation.
  • Do Not Rush- Fraudsters thrive on creating panic and urgency. Advise your member to take their time to assess the situation carefully.

What to do if you were Scammed:

If You Paid a Scammer

Did you pay with a credit card or debit card?

Contact the company or bank that issued the credit card or debit card. Tell them it was a fraudulent charge. Ask them to reverse the transaction and give you your money back.

Did a scammer make an unauthorized transfer from your bank account?

Contact your bank and tell them it was an unauthorized debit or withdrawal. Ask them to reverse the transaction and give you your money back.

Did you pay with a gift card?

Contact the company that issued the gift card. Tell them it was used in a scam and ask them to refund your money. Keep the gift card itself, and the gift card receipt.

Did you send a wire transfer through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram?

Contact the wire transfer company. Tell them it was a fraudulent transfer. Ask them to reverse the wire transfer and give you your money back.

  • MoneyGram at 1-800-926-9400
  • Western Union at 1-800-448-1492
  • Ria (non-Walmart transfers) at 1-877-443-1399
  • Ria (Walmart2Walmart and Walmart2World transfers) at 1-855-355-2144

Did you send a wire transfer through your bank?

Contact your bank and report the fraudulent transfer. Ask them to reverse the wire transfer and give you your money back.

Did you send money through a money transfer app?

Report the fraudulent transaction to the company behind the money transfer app and ask them to reverse the payment. If you linked the app to a credit card or debit card, report the fraud to your credit card company or bank. Ask them to reverse the charge.

Did you pay with cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency payments typically are not reversible. Once you pay with cryptocurrency, you can only get your money back if the person you paid sends it back. But contact the company you used to send the money and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask them to reverse the transaction, if possible.

Did you send cash?

If you sent cash by U.S. mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 and ask them to intercept the package. To learn more about this process, visit USPS Package Intercept: The Basics.

If you used another delivery service, contact them as soon as possible. 

If You Gave a Scammer Your Personal Information

Did you give a scammer your Social Security number?

Go to to see what steps to take, including how to monitor your credit.

Did you give a scammer your username and password?

Create a new, strong password. If you use the same password anywhere else, change it there, too.

If a Scammer Has Access to Your Computer or Phone

Does a scammer have remote access to your computer?

Update your computer’s security software, run a scan, and delete anything it identifies as a problem. Then take other steps to protect your personal information.

Did a scammer take control of your cell phone number and account?

Contact your service provider to take back control of your phone number. Once you do, change your account password.

Also check your credit card, bank, and other financial accounts for unauthorized charges or changes. If you see any, report them to the company or institution. Then go to to see what steps you should take.

Report a Scam to the FTC

When you report a scam, the FTC can use the information to build cases against scammers, spot trends, educate the public, and share data about what is happening in your community. If you experienced a scam — or even spotted one, report it to the FTC at

Check out what’s going on in your state or metro area by visiting

Site Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  (

Site Source: Federal Trade Commission  (

Site Source:  Alloya








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