senior scams

When it comes to scammers, nothing is sacred — including the bond between grandparent and grandchild.

April 27th, 2022

Door-to-door scams are among the most common crimes against people 60 and older. Why so? Retirement-age folks are more likely to be home to answer the door during the day. Usually raised to be polite, they're less likely to slam the door. And when scammed, they're less likely to report it to police or other authorities. If you are not a senior yourself, please share this information with your loved ones as it might save them thousands of dollars!

When it comes to scammers, nothing is sacred — including the bond between grandparent and grandchild. Lately, grandparent scammers have gotten bolder: they might even come to your door to collect money, supposedly for your grandchild in distress.

These kinds of scams still start with a call from someone pretending to be your grandchild. They might speak softly or make an excuse for why they sound different. They’ll say they’re in trouble, need bail, or need money for some reason. The “grandkid” will also beg you to keep this a secret — maybe they’re “under a gag order,” or they don’t want their parents to know. Sometimes, they might put another scammer on the line who pretends to be a lawyer needing money to represent the grandchild in court.

But, instead of asking you to buy gift cards or wire money (both signs of a scam), the scammer tells you someone will come to your door to pick up cash. Once you hand it over, your money is gone. But you might get more calls to send money by wire transfer or through the mail.

To avoid these scams and protect your personal information:

  • Take a breath and resist the pressure to pay. Get off the phone and call or text the person who (supposedly) called. If you can’t reach them, check with a family member to get the real story. Even though the scammer said not to.
  • Don’t give your address, personal information, or cash to anyone who contacts you. And anyone who asks you to pay by gift card or money transfer is a scammer. Always.
  • Check your social media privacy settings and limit what you share publicly. Even if your settings are on private, be careful about what personal identifiers you put out on social media.
  • Install security cameras to monitor the doorway. How many times do you regret opening the door for someone you don't expect, especially like the door-to-door salesman? With a security camera at your front door, the odds of falling for door to door scams can be much slimmer.
  • Ask detailed questions for more information. For example, ask him to show you his ID card and license, learn more about his company information, such as the location, phone number, and etc.

These types of scams have been happening more frequently in our local community If you lost money to this kind of scam, it was a crime, so file a report with local law enforcement. And if you get any kind of scam call, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.