They’re back. They are evil and they are back. They are the grandparent scammers.
My colleague Martin Weil had a story over the long holiday weekend that you might have missed, so I’m calling attention to it now — minimize your Cyber Monday shopping screens and read this now.
The story is about Montgomery County grandparents who have been duped into believing their grandchildren are in trouble and have thus sent scammers thousands of dollars to help them.
I reported on this scam this year after a Frederick County woman sent money to scammers after she and her husband were convinced, over the phone, that her grandson was in trouble in Mexico when he was really just fine at college.
Authorities suspect that Facebook and other social networks have given scammers better information to work with. Weil’s report noted that the scammers claimed the grandchildren were in trouble in Canada or Mexico, which sounds precisely like the warning the Better Business Bureau released last year:
Callers identify themselves by specific name as a particular family member. They say they are being held in jail in Mexico and they need bail money wired immediately. They lace their conversation with correct references by name to other family members, increasing their credibility. One caller even knew that the real person being impersonated had a twin who was born two minutes later.
The FBI has also issued a warning this year.
After I posted a blog post about this scam this year, I heard from dozens of victims and near victims in both the comments section and via e-mail. Please spread the word. Don’t let our grandparents be duped anymore. Enough.