College kids will soon be leaving campus for spring break, and that’s a perfect time for “Family Emergency Scams,” according to a press release.
BBB Serving Central Indiana is warning the public about this scam, which happens when a parent or grandparent is called and told that their child or grandchild is in trouble and needs immediate help.
The call starts with an “authority” — the police, a lawyer or hospital representative — contacting you and saying your child or grandchild has been arrested, mugged or is in the hospital. The caller goes on to explain that he or she needs money immediately for bail, medical treatment or to avoid jail time. You are then directed to wire money right away.
People who aren’t aware it’s a scam will often panic and follow the directions, losing money in the process, while their loved one is perfectly fine.
BBB Serving Central Indiana offered some tips for avoiding this scam, such as remaining calm so you don’t give in to the caller’s high-pressure tactics; telling the caller you will call back so you have time to call your loved one; creating a family password that only you and your loved ones know; never wiring money, which cannot be traced (always ask why they don’t accept other payment methods) and keeping track of your loved one’s travel plans.