Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Location: Central Florida

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is that really your grandchild calling?

I have a four-year-old grandson I adore and would do anything for. Right now, “anything” consists of trips to the playground, running around the backyard, and playing with his toys. I imagine things will change when he’s a teenager.

Con artists have sunk to a new low, preying on doting grandparents by posing as a grandchild in trouble and needing help.

The scammer calls on the phone and says something like, “This is your favorite grandson,” or even, “Do you know who this is?” When the unwitting grandparent responds with a name, the scammer has the information he needs. Typically, the scammers spin a story of needing cash but not wanting other family members to know, and they convince the grandparents to wire money.

The easiest way to avoid being a victim is to not offer any information the scammer doesn’t have. If the caller says, “This is your favorite grandson,” ask which one. If the caller asks you to guess who it is, refuse—answer “Do you know who this is?” with “No, I don’t. Who is it?”

And if a grandchild says he or she needs money but doesn’t want his or her parents to know, step back and think. If it was your child, wouldn’t you want to know? Don’t you have a responsibility to your own adult children to tell them when their children are in trouble?

If you get drawn far enough into the scam that you’ve agreed to send money, stop and confirm the need through a known contact number—not the one the scammer has provided—before you come up with any cash.

Finally, if you’ve been the target of a scam of any kind, notify the police.

For more on the fake grandchild scam, check out http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/11/grandparents_scam.html

Jacquelyn Lynn



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