The Grandparent Scam

What Is It?

The "Grandparent Scam" is a scam that targets the elderly in an attempt to steal large sum of money through a wire transfer. Financial losses from this scam are usually several thousand dollars per victim.

How Does It Happen?

A grandparent receives a phone call or email from someone who claims to be their grandchild. (A criminal may claim to be a police officer, lawyer, doctor, or some other authority figure.) The person pretending to be the grandchild says that he or she is traveling in a foreign country or faraway place, has gotten into trouble, and needs money wired quickly.

What Can You Do?

  • If you or someone you know receives a call like this, resist the pressure to act quickly. Stop, think, ask questions.
  • Try to contact your grandchild, or another family member who knows them, to find out if the person who called for help is the person they claim to be. Was your grandchild actually planning a trip? Did they take it? Chances are, your grandchild hasn't even left home.
  • Never wire money, especially to another country, based upon a request made over the phone or in an email. 

If You've Been Scammed

Contact your local law enforcement or state consumer protection agency. In Tennessee the state consumer protection agency, the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs, is housed in the Department of Commerce and Insurance:

500 James Robertson Parkway
Davy Crockett Tower
Nashville, TN 37243-0565

If it happened online or through email, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center

Additional Resources Steps to Take After Falling for a Scam

Content Details 
Source Organization: National Center on Elder Abuse Capture Date: 2015-05-26