Scammers target seniors by pretending to be grandkids in trouble

When the phone rings and the voice at the other end of the line says it's your grandchild - and he or she is in trouble and needs your help - you listen. And maybe you do what they say.

The bad guys know this. They know you want to help. They know that you'll let your guard down to help a loved one. And they use against you, to tug at your heart strings and steal your money - someimes thousands and thousand of dollars.

"What they'll typically say is they were arrested in a foreign country, maybe Canada or Mexico, and they need money and they need money now," explained Doug Shadel, a fraud fighter with AARP Washington.

The con artist pretending to be your grandchild may say he or she was arrested for drunk driving and they need you to wire them thousands of dollars for bail money to get out of jail.

They also want you to keep this call a secret. They'll say something like, "Don't tell anyone, especially mom or dad, because I'll get in big trouble."

But that's exactly what you should do - call someone - their parents or them directly if you have that number. That one call could keep you from being the next victim of the grandparent scam.

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