There are a lot of vulnerable elderly people in America, and they are favorite targets of scammers. One popular trick: the "grandparent scam," where fraudsters dial numbers and pose as grandkids who've stumbled into trouble and need money wired, right away. It's pretty loathsome!
The best way to foil these dirtbags? Everybody knowing their tricks. Exhibit A: This story from Connecticut's Ridgefield Press (picked up by Consumerist), which tells how two visiting nurses recently stepped in and helped seniors who'd been hit by scammers. One noticed a distressed elderly woman withdrawing $2,800 at Stop and Shop:
"I overheard the conversation the woman was having with the bank teller at the customer service counter as she was removing the money and she was told that it was a scam but she didn't believe it — she was quite upset," she said. "I followed her to her car, where her husband was, and they were both still in shock. I explained the situation and encouraged her to try and call her grandson, but she said that his phone was broken and that he needed the money wired to him. …
"She didn't get it — she was still going to send it," Ms. O'Rourke said. "She really thought it was her grandson and thought the broken nose was reasonable as to why he sounded different."
She explained what was happening and ultimately they got in touch with the grandson's wife, who confirmed everything was fine. Another nurse intervened with a patient about to wire $5,000, supposedly for bail money.
The point isn't that nurses are badass guardian angels (though I would argue they often are!). It's that everybody ought to know about these dirty tricks and listen out for them.
Photo via Matthew Benoit/Shutterstock.