It can if you’re not careful.
There is a growing trend of Grandparenting Spring Break Scams across the country. Apparently, grandparents are being targeted by some who want to get something for nothing.
Scammers are contacting grandparents by phone and posing as a grandchild or someone who has information about the grandchild. They may say that they are with law enforcement agencies or other organizations. The caller explains that the grandchild is in trouble and needs to have them wire money. The biggest tip off is often the fact that the caller is adamant that the grandparent should not contact the child’s parents for fear of how they will react. In reality, it’s because the parents most likely know where the child is and whether or not there is really a problem – or that this is a scam.
Sounds easy enough to spot this scam, but unbelievably, lots of grandparents are easily fooled.
If you have grandchildren, be aware of this scam. It’s probably more prevalent among families who are geographically dispersed and grandparents may not know as much about where their grandchildren are vacationing or spending time. To avoid being duped, always ask lots of questions of anyone who calls with such information. And always be aware of where grandchildren are going for any vacations with friends if possible – especially if they’ll be out of the country.
As for not contacting the parents, that’s never a good idea! Parents should always be alerted to this type of situation.
Children can make a difference too.
Social media has made it easy to find out more information about kids today than ever. Teens are notorious for posting on their Facebook page where they are, what they are doing, and where they are going. They love to boast about going to the beach, heading to an island, or being out with friends at a party. Their Facebook page or other social networking sites often include information about family, relationships, and other details that can help a scam artist glean enough information to be dangerous.
Caution children and grandchildren against using social media sites to post private information and don’t use it as a way to communicate where you’ll be all of the time. Posting an innocent comment that “my family and I will be out of town at the beach for the entire week” is often an ad inviting prowlers to visit your home.
And posting information about a trip to the beach during spring break could be a serious mistake for you and your grandparents.
Before you take any phone calls seriously that a grandchild or child is in trouble, be sure you know who you are talking to — and as always, teach children to be cautious about what they post online. Visit this link to see how this happened to one grandmother.