The holiday season is a great time to reunite with loved ones.  Call For Action Director Karen Stiles and our partners at TMJ4 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin report on a dangerous scam where criminals pose as loved ones, aiming to steal your money.

Call For Action has seen a variety of instances of this scam.  The caller claims to be someone you trust and would want to help — A friend, grandchild, or niece/nephew.  They claim to be in trouble and ask for urgent help.  The caller might ask for you to wire money, or send a prepaid gift card.  Often, they’ll say they are embarrassed or afraid and request you don’t tell anyone else about their trouble.  Many empathetic and generous people have fallen victim to this scam.

Here are a few tips to avoid being taken by a phone scam:

  • Check things out before you send money or provide personal information.  Ask for a number to call the person back, then verify their story independently with trustworthy sources.
  • Ask the caller a few personal questions that only a family member would know, such as a family member’s middle name.  If the person doesn’t know the answers or gives you another reason to suspect it’s a scam, hang up.
  • If you’ve been called by one of these scammers, report the call and phone number it came from to the authorities.  Your tip could help protect others from being scammed in the future.

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