Grandparent scams have been around for a long time. However, scammers are coming up with a new twist based on the coronavirus. COVID-19 grandparent scams are playing on the fears many people have right now, that they might lose a loved one.
Who Is It Targeting: Phone and email users
What Is It: A grandparent scam is a phishing scam that claims your family member is in trouble
What Are They After: Scammers are posing as grandchildren who claim they are sick and need money to pay their hospital bills. The information is easily gleaned from social media accounts, giving the caller a name that the person knows to use in their scam. In the current times of the coronavirus, COVID-19 grandparent scams can be particularly compelling.
How You Can Avoid It:
- Never make a payment over the phone to anyone you do not know or were not expecting to hear from
- Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is
- If you receive a call like one of these, say that you have to go to the store or bank to secure the money and have them call you back; during that time, reach out to your friend or relative to confirm that they are okay
If people have questions regarding COVID-19 grandparent scams, they are encouraged to contact the Identity Theft Resource Center through the website to live chat with an expert advisor. For those that cannot access the website, they can call the toll-free hotline (888.400.5530) and leave a message for an advisor. While the advisors are working remotely, there may be a delay in responding but someone will provide assistance as quickly as possible.
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