Help Gramma Don’t Tell Mom jail/accident Send Cash

If you’re 70 or older there is an increasing chance that you have or will be called by a grandchild in trouble. Only this is not your grandchild, and you are the one in trouble. This phone scam has been around for a while, and the biggest bucks swindled by these scammers are sourced from seniors 70 and older.

The identity scam generally yields a loss to the person who answers the phone an average of $462 in general, without regard to age, but when you separate out the victims who are 70 years and older, they are bilked for a surprising average of $9,000 as fake grandchildren are pulling on their heartstrings begging for help. Components include,

“Help Gramma, I Need Your Help”

The faux grandchild will call the elder victim and claim that they are in the most difficult circumstance, a potentially compromising situation that if it were to become public knowledge, might reflect poorly on the family. Grandparents are often sensitive to these unforeseen challenges and are willing to offer assistance discretely.

“Don’t Tell Mom”

Of course, there is the need for secrecy. If anyone else in the family were to find out, they would be devastated. This is an important part of the scheme because if the victim of elder financial fraud were to tell anyone, they might give them the head’s up that this is probably a scam. Or they might know that the grandchild is not actually in Dayton, Ohio at the time.


The criminal caller usually reports that they are restrained by some legal scenario, like being held in jail, or potentially facing criminal charges. Another popular alternative includes being in an uninsured accident and potentially facing challenges or charges. The understanding sensitive senior victim compassionately responds with something like, “Oh, dear, is there anything I can do to help”

Send Cash

As a matter of fact, there is a way that the grandparent can help this criminal out. All these problems can be instantly dealt with by inserting cash into the circumstance. And here’s where the elder financial abuse becomes criminal. And the elder mark will have to send cash dollars via mail, usually stuffed into the pages of a magazine, to an address that the victim would not recognize.

More Cash Less Risk Crime

This approach designed to scam senior citizens is a variation of the family and friend imposter scam that’s been circulating for years. As you can see, it is much more profitable for the scammer to target the elderly. Plus, the elderly are less likely to report the crime as they could be labeled as a vulnerable adult and potentially lose some of their independence.

The last thing they want to do is put their children on alert to their vulnerability, so they withhold information on the crime, while the criminals are financing their dreams in paradise by scamming the elderly, with much less risk than victimizing younger individuals.

What Can You Do?

Talk to your elderly friends and relatives and let them know about the grandparent scam, so if they get a call from a desperate grandchild they reach out to the family to verify their condition and whereabouts before trying to help them. And if they confirm with other family members that they are missing, possible consider offering assistance, but NOT in the form of cash through the mail.

If You Are a Vulnerable Adult

Check with family members, even though the grandchild (possibly a criminal posing as your grandchild) makes you promise to keep this a secret.


Sometimes stalling for a few days will allow the scam to dissipate. This is because the criminals are always on the move, changing the addresses that cash is sent to. So, if you delay, the urgency and the calling go away, as they find new numbers of alternative grandparents to go with their new mailing address.

Tighten-up Your Social Media Info

These cybercriminals are scouring the Internet and social media for their next targets, by cleaning up your profile, you may be able to reduce the likelihood of you becoming an upcoming target.

Sent Cash Already?

Contact the carrier that the cash was sent by. There may be a chance that you can catch it before it gets delivered to the recipient.

Report the Incident

You can report the incident to national authorities, like and your information may be able to help then track down these criminals and your report may save someone else from getting ripped off.

You may also consider reporting the incident to your State Department of Health and Human Services as they may be able to provide you with counseling, support, and help.

It Wasn’t Me!

We know that there is a lot of stuff that comes in your email inbox that is loaded with scams, and chances are if you haven’t been bitten by one, there’s a good chance that you will be, and it may take a couple of times of being scammed before you get a sense of what a scam looks like. Then there’s the other thing that rhymes with scam and that’s “spam,” which is junk emails, and spammy phone calls and text messages that have leaked over into the cell phone arena.

Telemarketers are able to sniff out your name, address, and phone number and can call you carrying on what appears to be a normal personal call from someone local (may also be using spoofing software which masks their caller ID with a local number) making is all so innocent until they get to the scam or sales pitch.

And if that’s not enough, they have artificial intelligence-equipped robot telemarketers which are pretty good at carrying on a conversation with you until they slip up with an off-the-wall reply. And you ask,

Aren’t there laws against scams?

Yes, there are, but they only apply to individuals and businesses who are physically located within the United States of America and its territories. There is no legal recourse against a scammer from outside the USA posing as a business located in the USA.

Why are there so many spam emails, texts, and calls?

The obvious answer is that it works. So, these conmen, psychopaths, and cybercriminals keep making up new scams to send to your email or call you about on your phone every day, and they will use names that you know and trust.

I don’t know how many times Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey have been contacted about products they have supposedly endorsed, that they know nothing about.

With so many people looking for work, right now, they are even posing as Fortune 500 companies looking for “legitimate” remote workers.

It Wasn’t Me!

Then, there is me. Since 2020, apparently, I have been contacting people offering 20-million-dollar grants for non-profit funding in exchange for a raft of personal information, a one-page description of how you will use the money to make the world a better place, and a $750 deposit, which will be refunded when they receive the $20 Million.

Sad to say, if you get that 20 million dollar offer from me, it is a scam using my name, photo, and Internet presence – NOT ME. They make the offer look credible because if you check it out online, it was based on an article I posted in 2016 (which has long since expired). The people who checked in with me prior to taking action on the scam came out ahead, while the others were out the $750 and probably were victims to identity theft.

All that to say,

Look before you leap.

If an offer appears to be too good to be true, check it out first, and the offer is connected to a recognizable company or celebrity, check it out first. Call the company or check with the celebrity. Of course, celebrities may be harder to get through, but chances are, if you do a quick Internet search for the celebrity and the offer, you will find clear evidence, or a blanket statement from the company or person cited as a sponsor or endorsement, that denies any connection to the offer.

A few minutes spent checking it out before you hit the buy now or send button, or prior to giving any information over the phone, will put you miles ahead of the scam. So, do that first.