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By Heritage Bank on September 30, 2022
2 minute read

The Grandparent Scam

Don’t let scammers take advantage of your big heart!

You or your loved one gets an urgent message from a family member. They need help. Can you send money right away?

Caring about your loved ones and wanting to help them are natural feelings. At Heritage Bank, we care about customers and our community. We celebrate your warmth, compassion, and kindness, and we hope you never lose those wonderful qualities that make you the amazing person you are.

We also want to help you protect yourself against some of the less-than-kind people in the world: scammers who want to take advantage of you and your loved ones. Anyone can fall victim to a scam. But we can all help protect one another through scam prevention.

Please, educate yourself about the Grandparent Scam and share this information with the caring, kind-hearted people in your life.

Heritage Bank team members have seen this scam first-hand several times. An older customer calls their banker or comes into the branch to transfer a large sum of money out of state or out of the country. More than once, our knowledgeable bankers are able to ask the right questions and stop the scam in its tracks.

 How it Happens

The Grandparent Scam can take different forms but most often it involves someone pretending to be a relative or pretending to be working on a relative’s behalf. They will ask for help with an urgent problem. These scammers are especially likely to target seniors.

A grandmother or grandfather is often contacted by someone they believe is their grandchild. Perhaps the grandchild is in jail and needs bail money. Or it might be relatives who need help returning from a foreign country. Or someone they care about needs cash fast to pay for an emergency medical treatment.

1. The situation is always urgent.

2. There is a request to transfer money.

3. The caller will often ask you not to involve other family members so they can avoid embarrassment (e.g., “Don’t tell my mom I need help!”).

In the Grandparent Scam, the scammers are trying to get you to act on your emotions and to do so quickly, before you check with other family members to confirm whether the request is real. They don’t want to give you time to recognize a scam. They hope that, by the time you realize the story does not add up, the wire or cash transfer is already done and the money is gone.

How to Protect Yourself

The first key to scam prevention is: Don’t panic. That’s what the scammer wants you to do. Take a deep breath and try to remain calm.

Next, see if there is a way to verify the story. Can you call the hospital, sheriff’s office, or a similar authority? Don’t let fear of embarrassment stop you from verifying whether a story is true.

Always talk to family members or trusted friends before sending emergency money to someone. You can even talk to a banker at Heritage Bank.

Unfortunately, scams and online fraud are a part of life these days. But Heritage Bank is always here to help you and your loved ones recognize, report, and prevent scams to keep you — and your money — safe and sound.

Heritage Bank. Member FDIC.


Published by Heritage Bank September 30, 2022