In the past, phone calls about Prince Albert in the can or running refrigerators were all seniors had to worry about.
But these days, scammers are using the telephone and social media sites like Facebook to fool grandparents into thinking that their relatives are in trouble, and in the process, rob them of hundreds of dollars overnight.
According to a public safety bulletin issued the Santa Monica Police Department, the scam involves a grandparent receiving a call from someone pretending to be their grandson or granddaughter.
The caller claims to be traveling in a foreign country and in some kind of financial trouble, and they request emergency cash sent by wire or overnight delivery.
Calls are usually made in the middle of the night, to make them seem more urgent.
Police say to avoid being scammed, seniors should listen carefully to the caller and take notes, including the person’s caller ID.
Although asking the caller personal questions about themselves, such as a childhood nickname or pet, seems like a good way to verify their identity, the scammer might have access to that information from social networking sites.
Additionally, do not reveal any personal information to the caller about yourself or your family.
After the call, you should try to contact your family members and verify their location before you attempt to send any money.
If you think you have been scammed, you should contact the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491 and report it immediately.