EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Scams targeting grandparents are on the rise and the FBI El Paso Division wants the Borderland to beware.
“From January of 2020 to June 2021, we’ve seen 650 reports nationwide of just grandparents scams, which have reported losses of $13 million,” said Special Agent Jeanette Harper, Public Affairs officer at the FBI El Paso Division.
The FBI says scammers use sophisticated social engineering techniques to do research on a potential mark by sifting through their and their family’s social media accounts to obtain information.
“Be careful what you post online. Talk to your kids and your grandkids about what they post online. Have your security parameters up to date,” said Harper.
The scammer will make a bogus phone call claiming to be the grandchild or someone with them, purporting that the grandchild is in danger and needs immediate money for bail or some other reason.
The FBI warns the Borderland community to talk to the elders in their lives about these scams and practice good online hygiene.
Oftentimes scammers will create a false sense of urgency in order to use an elder’s emotions against them to obtain their money.
To avoid being the victim of a scam, the FBI recommends:
- Take deep breaths and resist the pressure to pay if you get a scam call
- Immediately hang up and contact the person allegedly in distress. If you can’t reach them, contact a family member
- Never give out your address, personal information or cash
- Verify the privacy settings on your social media accounts are secure
To report a scam, click here.