The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) has reason to believe that a group of scammers are setting their sights on Oregon to perpetrate “grandparent scams.” In grandparent scams, older adults are duped into handing over cash at their front door, thinking they’re helping a loved one who is in danger.
Scammers pose as panicked grandchildren in trouble, calling or sending messages urging you to wire money immediately. They’ll say they need cash to help with an emergency – like paying a hospital bill or needing to leave a foreign country. They pull at your heartstrings so they can trick you into sending money before you realize it’s a scam.
The Oregon DOJ offers the following recommendations to avoid becoming a victim of a grandparent or family emergency scam.
If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a grandchild, other family member or friend desperate for money:
• Resist the urge to act immediately – no matter how dramatic the story is.
• Verify the caller’s identity. Ask questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer. Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine. Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
• Don’t send cash, gift cards, or money transfers – once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone.
• Never open your door for anyone you don’t know.
• Call the police immediately if you have reason to believe you’ve fallen victim to this scam or any other scam.
If you have fallen victim to a scam like the grandparent scam, file a complaint online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call the Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 and ask that a complaint form be mailed to you.