12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Grandparent scheme - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Grandparent scheme

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It's a scam targeting thousands of grandparents across the country, but there's one sure way to avoid being the next victim.

Here's how this scam works, grandparents get a call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who needs help and money immediately. Thousands of grandparents have fallen victim to the so-called grandparent scheme.

There are countless variations to the scheme, and the scammers will play on your emotions.

Wanda Wood fell victim to a scammer pretending to be her grandson Matt.

"One morning I answered the phone, and this young fella said 'hi Grandma,'" Wanda Wood said. "I really and truly believed it was Matt. The kid sounded like Matt."

The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips if someone calls claiming to be a family member or friend in desperate need of money:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately.
  • Verify the person's identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn't possibly answer.
  • Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
  • And Check the story with someone else in the family or circle of friends even if you've been told to keep it a secret.
  • Remember their goal is to trick you into sending money before you realize it's a scam.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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