I’m not, so I don’t think I’m susceptible to this potential scam, as laid out by Fidelity Investments as a warning. But it isn’t strictly a Grandparent Scam. It’s an Are You Related To Anyone? Scam. Niece, nephew, third cousin twice removed. Anyone.
A scammer calls or emails you, posing as either a relative in distress or someone claiming to represent the relative (such as a lawyer or law enforcement agent). The caller explains that the “relative” is in trouble and needs them to wire funds “immediately” for bail money, lawyer’s fees, hospital bills, or another fictitious expense.
My email is set on a high spam blocker so it’s only on my telephone where I could be scammed. Now I realize it’s possible I am the target of this type of scam, given the number of unidentified calls I get, and don’t pick up on. Good grief! Is it possible one of my many, many beloved relations could be in trouble and I’m turning a deaf ear?
Is Lake George NY calling me because one of my putative relatives has fallen off a boat, or was yanked into the lake while ice fishing? That’d be an emergency, for sure.
In this case, a warning to all relatives around the world who might be getting into trouble: make sure your financially secure and gullible kin will pick up the phone. I hope you’re not related to me.
Fidelity says if you get such an emergency call, dial up the relative or his/her parents directly and ask something like, “What’s up?” I myself would add a coded question, something about being underwater.
My favorite piece of Fidelity advice, though, is this:
If told you have to act quickly, resist that urge.
Several philosophical essays could be developed from this one simple sentence. But I’m not a philosopher and am resisting the urge to be one.