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Police Warn As Grandparent Bail Scam Takes a New Twist

Scammers will be scammers, and will always try new tricks.

In a new twist to the old grandparent scam, police are warning that the scammer may tell you that someone will come to your door to pick up cash needed to bail your grandchild out of jail. Once you hand it over, your money is gone. But you might get more calls to send money by wire transfer or through the mail.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of a new grandparent scam. It starts with a call from someone pretending to be your grandchild. They might speak softly or make an excuse for why they sound different. They’ll say they’re in trouble, need bail, or need money for some reason.

The “grandkid” will also beg you to keep this a secret — maybe they’re “under a gag order,” or they don’t want their parents to know. Sometimes, they might put another scammer on the line who pretends to be a lawyer needing money to represent the grandchild in court.

In a new twist to this old scam, the scammer tells you someone will come to your door to pick up cash. Once you hand it over, your money is gone. But you might get more calls to send money by wire transfer or through the mail.

To avoid these scams and protect your personal information:

• Take a breath and resist the pressure to pay. Get off the phone and call or text the person who (supposedly) called. If you can’t reach them, check with a family member to get the real story. Even though the scammer said not to.
• Don’t give your address, personal information, or cash to anyone who contacts you. And anyone who asks you to pay by gift card or money transfer is a scammer. Always.
• Check your social media privacy settings and limit what you share publicly. Even if your settings are on private, be careful about what personal identifiers you put out on social media.
• If you lost money to this kind of scam, it was a crime, so file a report with local law enforcement. If you get any kind of scam call, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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