In upstate New York, an older couple receives a startling call from an unknown voice. They are told their grandson has been in a car accident. The caller knows their grandson’s name, where he lives and other details about his life. The caller shares alarming news that police suspect his grandson is at fault for the accident and are holding him in jail. If the grandparents want to help their grandson, they’ll need to pay for a lawyer and send money immediately. Terrified, the grandparents agree to cover the legal fees to get their grandson out of jail. They follow the caller’s instructions and send $5,400 in gift cards. Then the caller demands $10,000 cash. The grandparents don’t yet realize that they are victims of the grandparent scam, a con targeting seniors by preying on their devotion to their families. In the U.S., grandparent scams are on the rise, with nearly $41 million in reported losses in 2018, up from $26 million in 2017. Before the ordeal is over, the couple will receive dozens of calls demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars and threatening their grandson.
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