Last week I got a phone call saying “Hi Grandpa” from a guy I thought could be one of my grandsons but I wasn't totally sure. After a little chit-chat, he asked “Do you know who this is?” I answered hesitatingly, “Vincent.” He replied, “That's right.” After a little more chit-chat, he told me he was in Peru with a buddy. I asked him how he got down there in one day as the scam began to suffuse my brain.
Knowing from my response that I wasn't a potential target, he hung up and so I never got a chance to find out whether he supposedly was in jail and needed bail, lost his ticket home or had his wallet and all his money stolen. Neither did he have an opportunity to tell me how much money he needed nor why he couldn't call his parents.
Most readers will probably ask why anyone would ever fall for such bogus phone calls? Actually, when one of my eight grandkids call they never say who they are — they just expect me to know and sometimes I'm not sure. And most grandparents will help out in any way they can when a grandchild is in distress. This scam clearly aims at these buttons. We know of others who have been called similarly by sham grandkids and also friends of friends who have wired thousands of dollars to these “grandkid” scammers.
It's a distressingly ugly scam on older people, and I urge all who read this to keep aware of it and make sure all potential victims they know are also aware of it.