‘Grandparent Scam’ uses phony grandchildren as bait

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan

FORT MYERS, Fla. It’s hard to know how many people fall for this scam because they’re often too embarrassed to admit it.

The ploy, often known as “The Grandparent Scam,” preys on older people with fabricated phone calls designed to make victims think their grandchildren are in trouble, said Carrie Kerskie, director of the Hodges University Identity Fraud Institute.

Scammers disguise their voices and act desperate, saying they don’t want their mom or dad to know about the situation,” Kerskie said. Then they’ll tell the victim how to send money — often using an iTunes gift card, something that’s unfamiliar to many seniors.

“They think an iTunes gift card is a new way to send money, like a Western Union or a MoneyGram,” Kerskie said.

Anyone who thinks they or a family member has been targeted by this scam should contact law enforcement immediately, Kerskie said.

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