Sometimes called Grandparent Scams, these scams involve calls or emails from someone claiming to be your friend or family member in dire need. They are trying to prey on your emotions by inventing a situation that you must respond to immediately – with your money. They convince you by disguising their voice, showing a familiar phone number on your caller ID using a practice called “spoofing”, and using information available on the Internet. For instance, they say they may sound different because they are crying, sick, or injured. They reference specific names of family members or locations to make their story seem plausible. Then, they try to keep you from confirming their story by begging you not to tell anyone since they are embarrassed or scared in their situation.
Stop and think: no matter how dire the situation is, you can wait a few minutes before giving away your money. To confirm they are who they say, consider asking specific personal questions that would be difficult to know from the Internet or social media about you or your family. Or even better, use contact information you know for that person to reach out to them separately to confirm the story, or that of their family members