MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Crime is nothing new, but new technology is making it easier for criminals to target the elderly and exploit the love they have for their grandchildren.
“When you’re a senior and you get panicky you don’t think,” said Virginia Hendrickson who was scammed a few months ago.
It’s called the “Grandparent scam.” The Broward Sheriff’s Office is now trying to get the word out to anyone who may fall victim.
“Tell your friends about this scam. Education is our best tool for prevention,” BSO Sheriff Al Lamberti.
This is how the scam works: a person claiming to be the grandchild or relative contacts the victim by email or phone saying they are in trouble and need financial help. They then ask the victim to wire the money to them.
“Never disclose any personal information or financial information over the phone to anyone,” said Lamberti.
There isn’t much police can do after the money has been exchanged since most of these scammers live overseas.
“It was going on for a while; there was lull, but it’s picked up,” Lamberti said.
“I want everybody the seniors to be aware that the people that called you are on the up and up, its better to find out first,” Hendrickson said.
Here’s how you can protect yourself:
- Ask for contact information and tell them you’ll call them back.
- Make contact with other relatives or friends to verify the status and whereabouts of the person contacting you.
- If a loved-one claims they are in jail or hospital, ask for the location and call to confirm.
And BSO also says , plain and simple, trust your gut instinct. If something doesn’t seem right or is out of the ordinary, it’s most likely a con.