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Con artists will go to great lengths to get between you and your money. Sadly, this includes taking advantage of your love for your family. Scammers are putting a new twist on an old scam that targets grandparents’ hearts and wallets.

Scammers contact grandparents, claiming to be their grandchild or calling on behalf of their grandchild. With a nod to the pandemic, they will explain your grandchild fell ill and was rushing to the hospital and wrecked his car - and possibly even hurt someone - and is now in jail. They will ask you to send money right away - often through a money transfer service or by purchasing gift cards.

The phone calls often come late at night when you may be less clear-headed because you are tired or have been sleeping. The scammers will typically offer just enough detail to make the story seem convincing. They may even hand the phone to another scammer who will claim to be a doctor, police officer or lawyer.

Don’t panic

Ask the caller questions only your grandchild could answer, such as the name of your grandchild’s first pet or where he went to elementary school.

Hang up and call your grandchild’s phone number or call other family members to see if they can verify the story.

One way to prevent scams like this is to check the privacy settings on your social media accounts to make sure only friends and family can see your posts and photos. Otherwise, the information scammers can find about you can be used to deceive you in scams just like this.

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