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The grandparent scam: A new reason to hang up on a stranger

Many have heard of the grandparent scam. A stranger calls a senior pretending to be a family member in distress and, taking advantage of their trust, tries to bilk them out of thousands of dollars.

A Senior Times reader has called in to say that the telephone fraud has resurfaced in a new form. “I received a call from someone claiming they were from Immigration and unless I send money immediately I would be put in jail,” said the 87-year old, who wants to remain anonymous.

“The voice on the end of the line was belligerent and intimidating. I knew it was a scam because I’m a Canadian citizen and there is no reason for Immigration to call me.”

She wisely hung up only to immediately receive a second call but when the answering machine came on, the man remained quiet.

What this reader found most disquieting was that her sister, who lives in New York, got “the exact same call” hours later. The only difference was that on her sister’s answering machine, the stranger left a message filled with threats.
There is no reason to engage in conversation with a stranger on the telephone. Government institutions and banks will never just call asking for money.

The wisest thing to do, if in doubt, is to hang up. “I don’t want seniors and newly arrived citizens to worry,” said this reader. “Anyone threatening to put you in jail and demanding money means only one thing: It’s a scam!”

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