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Well-meaning senior citizens who think they are helping a grandchild in distress are becoming victims of another wave of the so-called “Grandparent Scam,” warns the Better Business Bureau.

Typically, the grandparent receives a frantic phone call from someone they are led to believe is their grandchild. A scammer, posing as their grandchild, explains that he or she is in trouble and needs their help. The “grandchild” might claim he or she caused a car accident or was arrested for drug possession. With the new wave of calls, victims are also contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer or lawyer representing the grandchild in court. The “grandchild” pleads to the grandparents to not tell his or her parents and asks that they wire thousands of dollars for reasons including posting bail, repairing the grandchild’s car, covering lawyer’s fees or even paying hospital bills for a person the grandchild injured in a car accident.

Senior citizens are frequent targets of scammers because they are often trusting and quickly willing to help loved ones. Seniors are also a target because seniors can have Social Security income, pensions, investments and plenty in savings.

BBB offers some tips to avoid becoming a victim to a “grandparent scam.”

Be skeptical. People are urged to ask questions only the grandchild could know the answer to, without revealing too much personal information about either person.

Verify the information. Grandparents should check with the child’s parents.

Don’t wire any money if there is any doubt about the call. If a person does become a victim of the scam the police need to be alerted immediately.

If you are the victim of a scam or want to search scams, please go to the BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org. Feel free to contact the Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Arizona at (520) 888-5353 or visit our website.

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