At NCF, it’s simple to give safely. Our research team reviews and approves each charity before we send grants to support their work. But other ways of giving are not so safe, and financial exploitation of the elderly has reached epidemic proportions, from phone and internet scams to exploitative charities. So we offer this article from Sound Mind Investing to keep you informed.
Mildred Smith of Stockbridge, Ga., answered the phone (not her real name but the story is true). “Señora Smith,” said a serious voice on the other end, “This is Rafael Lopez with the Mexico City police. Your grandson is here and asked if we would call you. He was in a car accident. He’s not hurt, but he has been charged with DUI. And we must hold him indefinitely unless someone can pay his bail and legal expenses.”
“Oh, dear! May I talk to him?”
“Si, Señora. Just a moment.”
“Grandmother? I’m so sorry. I hope you can help me. I’m really scared, and I need some money right away ….”
Mildred Smith grew suspicious. The voice didn’t sound quite like her grandson. Fortunately, she didn’t fall for what fraud investigators call the “grandparent scam.” But many people do.
A year ago, a Connecticut woman was moments away from wiring her “grandson” $30,000 following “a car accident in Mexico” when a local bank employee intervened. An elderly New York man lost nearly $80,000 in a similar fraud, according to The Wall Street Journal.