What Your Parent Should Know About The Grandparent Scam

Think about the number of times you pick up the phone only to hear the voice of yet another scammer claiming they can reduce your credit card debt or fix your computer. Hopefully you’ve never fallen for one of these calls, but if you have, you’re certainly not alone. Scammers make calls like that because they work—if they didn’t, they wouldn’t waste their time.

Sadly, senior citizens are frequent targets of scams. The FBI says there are several reasons that scammers go after seniors. Some of those reasons are:

  • Seniors have had time to build up some savings and are more likely to own a house. They often also have excellent credit. All of these factors make them an attractive target.
  • Seniors are not as likely to report fraud because they may worry that family members will think they aren’t capable of caring for themselves or because they are embarrassed.
  • Having grown up in gentler times, seniors were raised to trust people and to be polite. Scammers know this and exploit their inability to say “no” or just hang up.

Now there’s a new scam that attempts to convince senior citizens to send money by preying on their love for their grandchildren. It’s called “The Grandparent Scam.”

What is The Grandparent Scam?

The grandparent scam involves a senior receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be one of their grandchildren. They often have just enough personal details about the family to be believable. They know things like the names of the grandchild’s siblings or where someone in the family lives. They use the details to concoct a story about being stuck out of town and needing money for any number of reasons—they’re stranded because of transportation issues or they’ve been jailed and need bail money. Whatever the reason they give, it’s meant to evoke an emotional response that rattles the senior just enough to agree to wire transfer money. They usually ask the senior to keep the call a secret—especially from the grandchild’s parents. If the senior falls for the scam, they may receive a follow up call a few days later asking for more money.

How an Elder Care Can Help Protect Your Parent

If your parent spends a lot of time at home alone, hiring an elder care provider could keep them safer from scams. An elder care provider can be on the lookout for signs that your parent is falling prey to con artists. They can even answer phone calls for your parent and hang up when they know it’s a scam. If your parent’s elder care provider suspects they have been the target of a scam, they can let you know so that you can prevent any further damage to your parent’s financial well-being.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Mason, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.