BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
28 counties covering Western Pennsylvania
Scam, Scam, Go Away – Don’t Come Back Any Other Day!
August 24, 2010

grandmaIn traveling around the city doing various presentations to community groups I hear a lot of stories from consumers. I felt the need to share one story in particular as it’s a new twist on an old scam.

The Grandparent Scam

The Grandparent scam has been around for years with a scammer posing as a consumer’s grandchild in need of help/money. Typically, the scammer says the grandchild is in a foreign country on spring break and lost their wallet and need money to get home. The scammer then asks the grandparent to wire money to them. I’m sure you’ve already guessed it, but the “grandchild” isn’t in trouble, and the wired money is now in the hands of the scammer.

Recently, a consumer told me she received a phone call from her “grandson” stating he had started a new job refilling ATM machines. Her “grandson” continued to talk to her, explaining he took this job to help him pay for his college expenses. He told her they were training him for the job and then started inquiring about her debit card. The consumer thought something was fishy, and when she asked her “grandson” a personal question, it was obvious it wasn’t really her grandson. She immediately hung up the phone and called the police. This is just a new twist on the grandparent scam.

The BBB advises consumers to NEVER give out personal information such as bank account or social security numbers to anyone you don’t know. Also keep in mind that it is a red flag if anyone is asking you to wire money.

For more information on how to protect yourself against scams and schemes visit www.bbb.org.