Scammers often call seniors at night or very early in the morning, when they are disoriented by sleep. / Archive
Photo: Archive / Hypermedia
The older ones have been very isolated for months. COVID, especially hard on older people, has prevented many grandparents from seeing their grandchildren for months and that, together with the emotional bond that unites them, makes them easy prey in the eyes of scammers, something that has led to state attorney general to issue an alert.
Prosecutor Letitia James warns of a strategy to raise money through phone calls by scammers posing as a distressed grandchild who urgently needs money. Sometimes people posing as a security or surety officer, perhaps a lawyer, claim to make the call on behalf of the grandchild with the same intention, to get the victim’s money.
Usually the story they tell their victim is that the grandson has been arrested. “Grandma, I am arrested for driving after drinking alcohol, I need money to post bail. Please don’t tell my parents. ” That is in essence the presentation of the scammer who with that final phrase of complicity complicates the possibility that a fraud is known that is not widely reported.
Favorite times to act are at night or early in the morning to take advantage of the disorientation that a call produces when someone is sleeping or just woken up.
Many elderly people do not recognize the voices of their grandchildren well because they deliberately create a lot of noise around them or make the phone line appear to have interference. All of this adds confusion to a plot that is crowned by asking for money that is paid via mail or with a prepaid or gift card from which the victim is asked to read the serial numbers on a subsequent call. Thus, no trace remains.
James has shared a video in which it is explained how a fraud works, of which 24,545 complaints were received in 2020 at the Federal Trade Commission, FTC, about 2,300 more than the previous year. Of these, 1,359 came from New York.
“I ask all New Yorkers to be vigilant and protect their families,” James explained. How?. From the prosecution the following clues are given:
- Take time Scammers will convey urgency and tell your family about love. Don’t do anything hastily.
- Check the call with a member of your family or friends before sending money, especially the scammer has told you not to.
- If someone from the authority makes a call to you, please ask for the data and the telephone number from where they say they have called to verify the history. Call the police to verify the story.
- Be suspicious of someone calling you urgently for money and never send money by mail or buy a debit or gift card to transfer funds. It is the first sign of danger.
- Ask a question that only your grandchild can answer because it is a family matter. Make sure it is something that no one shares on social media.
- Be careful what you share on social media. Anyone can see most things and make you vulnerable.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.