Scammers Use Fake Emergencies To Steal
Someone may call or contact you saying they’re a family member or close friend. They say they need money to get out of trouble. Not so fast. Is there really an emergency? Is that really your family or friend calling? It could be a scammer.
Scammers are good at pretending to be someone that they’re not. They try to trick you into thinking a loved one is in trouble. And once the scammer makes you think they’re your grandson and in trouble, they pressure you to quickly send them money. But it’s all a scam. Your family member was never in trouble. Slow down. Verify.
How Scammers Convince You
The scammer may already know a lot about you or the person they’re pretending to be. They may know your name, where you live, and other information they could have found on social media sites or by hacking a family member’s email. And sometimes they simply guess.
But they always say you have to pay right away by wiring money through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram, sending cryptocurrency, using a payment app, or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the numbers on the back. Here are other tactics scammers use in fake emergency scams:
- Scammers might pretend to be an “authority figure,” like a fake lawyer, police officer, or doctor working with your family member. It makes them sound more convincing, and they hope it scares you.
- Some scammers use artificial intelligence (AI) to clone your loved one’s voice. With a short audio clip — maybe from content posted online — and a voice-cloning program, a scammer could call you and sound just like your family member.
If You Sent Money to a Scammer
Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way. They often insist that you can only pay in ways that make it tough to get your money back — by wiring money through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram, sending cryptocurrency, using a payment app, or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the numbers on the back. No matter how you pay a scammer, the sooner you act, the better.
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