FBI Newark
Public Affairs Specialist Amy Thoreson
May 15, 2020

FBI Warns of Scam Targeting Grandparents

NEWARK, NJ—The FBI’s Newark Field Office is warning of an increase in fraud schemes that target grandparents in New Jersey. Since January, fraudsters have preyed on dozens of grandparents throughout the state. These victims have lost a combined total that is expected to surpass a million dollars.

“We want to warn as many people as possible so that they might thwart the nefarious efforts of these schemers,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie. “Awareness is a victim’s best defense. Don’t allow criminals to separate you from your hard earned savings. Call, verify, report.”

The scam typically works like this: you receive a call from someone claiming to be a bail bondsman, a lawyer, or a member of law enforcement. That person tells you that your grandchild or other loved one is in trouble and in need of money. You are directed to withdraw a large amount of cash and told that a courier will pick up the money from you at your home.

“This version of the scheme is slightly more personal and more dangerous,” Ehrie said. “Any time a criminal comes to your home, you are extremely vulnerable.”

If you receive this type of call, remain calm and resist the pressure to act quickly. Get as much information as possible, including the phone number, if possible, of the caller. Hang up and call a family member to verify the information or call a trusted friend to ask for help. Report the call to your local police department or the FBI. If you are still convinced you need to withdraw the money, talk to the manager at your bank and ask for guidance. Never wire money, especially overseas, based on a request made over the phone or in an email. Once you send it, you can’t get it back.