Scam artists are always looking for ways to rip off seniors.  The latest twist is the so-called “grandson” scam, in which potential victims are called by a man who pretends to be a grandson who has gotten into trouble in a foreign country.  The caller claims he needs money wired  to him  as soon as possible.  The caller also urges the victims not to contact other family members. Once the victim wires the money, there is usually no way to get it back.

Two senior citizens in Westchester recently fell victim to this scam.  In both cases, the caller claimed to be a grandson who had gotten into a car accident while vacationing in Canada.  The caller then said he needed money to get the car repaired. Both victims were bilked out of thousands of dollars.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of the “grandson” scam:

  • Never give or wire money based on an unsolicited phone call.
  • Verify that the caller is really your grandson, and that your grandson is actually in a foreign country, before sending money.  Call another family member or the grandson himself.
  • The caller usually starts the conversation by saying “it’s me, your grandson,” and waiting for the victim to say something like “oh, hi Jimmy.”  So if the caller says he’s your grandson, ask the caller for his name. Don’t provide the name yourself.  If the caller cannot provide the name, hang up immediately.
  • Never send money to an unknown account or entity.