From the time you were born your parents took care of you, watched over you, and protected you from things and people who might do you harm. As your parents get older, however, those roles often reverse. Now it may be your turn to take care of them and protect them from unscrupulous individuals who prey on the elderly. Specifically, you need to make sure your parents are not at risk of falling prey to a “Granny Scammer”, a new breed of con artists who uses social media to con the elderly.
In case you have yet to hear about “Granny Scammers”, here is a common scenario that illustrates how they operate:
Con artists who tend to focus on the elderly as victim of their scams have begun to use social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to troll for likely victims. Because many older individuals know very little about social media, particularly about privacy settings, an amazing amount of personal information can often be gathered off these sites. For example, a Granny Scammer might find a likely victim’s Facebook page and be able to find out things such as the names of her grandchildren, their ages, and even what travel plans they might have. With that information in hand the Granny Scammer can go to work. A limited amount of detective work can usually supply a victim’s telephone number which is then used to call by the con artists to call the victim pretending to be the victim’s grandchild. The scammer then tells the victim there has been some type of emergency that requires money to resolve. The scammer may even have a story ready as to why the “grandchild” can’t tell anyone else in the family. Grandma, being a loving and trusting grandma, then goes straight to Western Union and transfers the requested funds to her “grandchild’s” best friend or someone else who will pick it up because the grandchild can’t – due to the emergency.
Variations of this scam work because the Granny Scammer is able to gather enough identifying information from social media to sound authentic and legitimate. The best way to protect your parents, or other elderly loved ones, from falling prey to a Granny Scammer is to educate them about social media – just as you would educate a younger child about the potential risks involved in using social media.
If you have additional questions or concerns about how to protect your elderly loved ones, contact the experienced New York elder law attorneys at The Law Offices of Saul Kobrick, P.C. by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.