SALEM, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Justice believes a group of scammers is turning its attention to older adults in what is called a "grandparent scam."
The Oregon DOJ says scammers pose as panicked grandchildren in trouble, calling or sending messages urging the grandparent to wire money immediately. They'll say they need cash to help with an emergency – such as paying a hospital bill or needing to leave a foreign country.
To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, authorities offer the following recommendations if you receive such a call:
- Resist the urge to act immediately – no matter how dramatic the story is.
- Verify the caller's identity. Ask questions that a stranger couldn't possibly answer. Call the phone number of a family member or friend that you know to be genuine. Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you've been told to keep it a secret.
- Don't send cash, gift cards, or money transfers – once the scammer gets the money, it's gone.
- Never open your door for anyone you don't know.
If you have fallen victim to a scam like this call the police, file a complaint online at www.oregonconsumer.gov, or contact the Oregon Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 and ask that a complaint form be mailed to you.