Grandma and travel crisis scams
MILWAUKEE - If you get a phone call or e-mail from a family member asking you to wire money, watch out, it could be a scam.
Scam artists are at again, calling and sending e-mails that appear to be from a desperate grandchild or loved one in need of money to be wired.
Here is how the typical scam is carried out: The caller or e-mail starts out with a statement to pull at your heartstrings, such as, “Grandma, it’s me. I’m in trouble. I’m being held by the police for possession of drugs and I need you to wire money so that I can be released. Please don’t tell mom and dad.” Or, an e-mail that says, “I am on vacation and all of our money and passports were stolen. We need you to wire money right away.”
The caller is able to disguise the voice and sometimes the caller ID to make it sound just like a grandchild, niece or nephew. But, the telltale signs that this is likely a scam include the request for money to be wired, keep the request private, and take action immediately.
If you or someone you know receives this type of call, do not release any personal information, and tell the caller that you will need to check things out and call them back. If the caller persists, saying that you cannot call back, ask a question that only a your grandchild or loved one would be able to answer, such as what is your youngest sibling’s middle name, or what was the name of your first grade teacher?
If you are unsure, contact a family member or someone who can verify if the person is out of town. If the calls persist, contact your phone company, local police, and consumer agencies. It might also be a good idea to talk with parents and relatives and warn them about these scams.