HELENA – When scammers aren’t thinking of new ways to get your money, they recycle or update an old scam.

The “Grandparents” scam, otherwise known as the “Emergency” scam, has been expanded from just a late night phone call plea for quick cash to now include a social media demand for money for a fake emergency.

The scam works like this: You receive a phone call or text or instant message from a scammer posing as a relative, a friend or maybe even a school former classmate.

They say they are having an emergency; either they claim they’ve been arrested, robbed or injured.

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They usually claim the incident has happened in a foreign county, and they need you to send them money, by wire, money gram or an iTunes or Amazon gift card. They claim they need that money now.

Experts say the last thing you want to do is give in to the false sense of urgency send the money. The first thing to do is confirm the person’s identity and confirm that a real emergency exists.

Marcus Meyer is an investigator with the Montana Officer of Consumer Protection.

“And if you think that it’s suspicious, or you don’t trust the person, end the conversation,” said Meyer.

“Either don’t reply to the messages that they’re sending you or hang up the phone. And if people have other questions, they can contact law enforcement or they can contact the Office of Consumer Protection.”

Meyer said when you call in the scam, be sure and provide important details of your situation.

“Any information on how much money they’re wanting them to wire or what the actual situation was; were they thrown in jail or help with medical bills,” added Meyer.

Learn more about the Grandparent or Emergency Scam here.

You can reach the Montana Office of Consumer Protection at: 1-800-481-6896 or contactocp@mt.gov

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