Emergency scams are on the rise and among the cruelest around.Here are two of the most common Western Union, a global payment service, has been noticing lately, according to this news release:
In this shady move, scammers call up grandparents pretending to be their grandchildren needing help.
The scammers will say anything to get the grandparents to cough up their cash, but beg the them not to tell their parents so they’ll stay out of trouble.
In another variation, a scammer’s accomplice hands over the phone to a fake authority figure, say a police officer or attorney, to create a sense of urgency and make the scam seem legit.
Social Networking Scam
A “friend” of a Facebook friend—aka a scammer who somehow got a hold of your profile—sends a network-wide plea saying they’ve been stabbed, mugged, injured, etc. abroad and are in serious need of money. Thanks to all the data stored on Facebook, they’re able to weave in personal details that make the scam sound like it’s legit. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the true nature of the message is revealed.
Obviously, whenever someone asks you to wire money right away you should hold off and do your research. Think through what the scammer’s saying and ask yourself, does any of this even make sense? Chances are, it won’t.
You should also check with mutual friends and family members to confirm these people are actually telling the truth. Finally, don’t fall for the “please don’t tell mum” act—call the parents to see if they’re aware of what’s going on.
If you feel you’ve been a victim of fraud, get on the phone ASAP and call Western Union’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-448-1492 or visit their website at WesternUnion.com.