Scam Alert: 'Family member' is merely a fake

August 24, 2008 

THE SCAM: Your grandkids are calling.

HOW IT WORKS: The con involves an older person receiving a phone call from con artists who act as if the victims are their grandmothers or grandfathers. The caller then asks, "Do you know who this is?" If the person who answers responds with a name of a grandchild, the caller says, "That's right!" The caller tells the grandparent that he or she is in trouble and needs money, but doesn't want his or her parents to find out. The victims are asked to wire money to a particular account or location, where the scammer picks it up.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money

HOW TO BEAT IT: A question or two can quickly unravel the entire scheme. When receiving this call, experts recommend asking which grandchild it is, and asking for a name. Odds are, the scammer will hang up in frustration.

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