Warn Your Parents And Grandparents About The Fake Grandchild Debt Scam

It seems like as soon as we warn the public about a nefarious phone scam, another slight variation sprouts up to vacuum more money from the pockets of innocent people. This new scam that we’ve learned about combines a focus on grandparents with the urgency and fear of the overdue taxes and jury duty scams that we’ve shared with you recently. What these scams have in common, of course, is that the problem can always be solved with the number from a prepaid debit card.

We learned about this scam variant from the Federal Trade Commission, who explained how it works: the caller tells the prospective victim that their grandchild has racked up some debt, and could be arrested, lose his or her job, or have their driver’s license taken away if they don’t pay up. The caller makes the debt seem urgent and wants to frighten the person on the other end on behalf of their grandkid.

Aggressive fake debt collectors are actually a separate category of scam, but combining this issue with senior citizens and the natural human desire to bail one’s grandkids out of trouble, and this is an especially dangerous scam. Other variations have had fake grandkids calling to ask for help after an accident, or asking for pricey bail to get out of prison abroad.

One key thing to remember: if you didn’t actually cosign a loan or a credit acrd, no debt collector has the right to call you about anyone else’s debts at all. If you did, legitimate debt collectors usually don’t ask for prepaid debit cards from your local drug store.

Attention Grandparents: Watch out for phony debt collectors [FTC]

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