You’d do anything to help your grandchild, and scammers know it.

Who Is It Targeting: Senior citizens

What Is It:  Extortion scam in which callers pretend to be a grandchild in distress

What Are They After: Sinking to an incredible new low, scammers have actually targeted elderly people with phone calls that indicate the victim’s grandchild is in some kind of danger. The story can be anything upsetting, like they are stranded on vacation in Europe or they have been arrested and can’t post bail.

In some extreme cases, victims have reported that the scenario was a kidnapping; scammers actually told their elderly victims that they were holding the grandchild hostage and would kill him unless the ransom was paid.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • If you receive a call such as this, do not be fooled into handing over your information or your money.
  • If you are truly concerned, gather the appropriate information from the scammers and hang up; confirm your grandchild’s safety before doing anything else.
  • Contact the police immediately and file a report on the extortion.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from

Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.