We all want to connect with our loved ones.
So when we get a notification on social media that someone wants to chat, we’re excited to catch up. But a new scam, particularly on Facebook, is playing on the emotional vulnerability of grandparents.
The so-called “Granny scam” occurs when a scam artist creates a Facebook profile using your loved one’s details. The scammer then messages you claiming to be in a desperate situation and in need of money.
Social media sites offer a wealth of family information like photos, names and birthdays. A scammer can use those details to pose as the victim’s grandchild/relative. From there, a simple “Grandma I need help,” message can have seniors wanting to jump in and help.
Often, the scammer will tell you not to tell anyone about the situation and push you to send money. So what can you do?
Watch out for people who claim to be your relative asking you to send money immediately via gift card, prepaid card or wire transfer. Scammers prefer those payment methods because they are difficult to trace and are often considered voluntarily given rather than ‘stolen’.
Make sure you keep your guard up and try not to panic no matter how dire your loved one’s situation seems to be. Scammers want you to get worked up and upset in order to distract you from getting suspicious. Don’t rush into making a decision.
Finally, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Check in with the grandchild’s parents or caregivers for an update on their situation.