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Hello, Grandma': Phone Scammers Prey on the 'Kindness' of Seniors to Steal Thousands of Dollars

Don't be the next victim.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

They're often called the "greatest generation," but now they're being targeted for one of the very reasons that has made them so great: their "kindness."

Phone scammers have taken advantage of at least three elderly residents in Colorado in just the last two weeks, resulting in each of them losing thousands of dollars. The scammers are pretending to be their grandchildren asking them to wire them money to get out of jail, KDVR reported.

flip cellphone Photo credit: Shutterstock

It's called the "Hello, Grandma" scam and, as one Facebook post from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department points out, the trick has been around for some time. However, there's been a whopping 67 percent uptick in such cases recently, according to federal government data. The most recent of which occurred to three individuals in Colorado after they were preyed upon by scammers seeking to take advantage of their "kindness."

Imagine someone tricking your sweet grandma or grandpa into giving them $2,300. How about $23,000? How about...

Posted by

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

According to KDVR:

  • On June 12, an 83-year-old woman lost $23,000 making three separate transactions.
  • Also on June 12, an 85-year-old man lost $2,300 on one transaction, and a concerned Walmart employee declined a second transaction for $3,600 because he believed it to be a scam.
  • Between May 29 and June 14, a 93-year-old woman lost $69,000 on 16 different transactions.

But the scheme appears to be much larger and more widespread than that. In fact, there's an entire industry whose mission is to take money away from seniors. Every year, elderly adults in the U.S. lose a staggering $2.9 billion because of scams like this one, according to KMOX.

Police haven't identified who could be behind the vicious scam or even if the three recent incidents in Colorado are related. Protection agencies are recommending that seniors create passwords for their loved ones to use over the phone in case they ever need to verify who they're talking to. So if a caller doesn't know the password, they should just hang up.

(H/T: KDVR-TV)

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Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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