In 2018, the Consumer Sentinel Network of the Federal Trade Commission has seen a striking increase in the median dollar amount people 70 and over say they have lost to fraud, according to a blog post at the FTC website.
And in one particular type of scam — family and friend imposters — these sums are being sent in cash.
In fact, one-quarter of victims age 70 and older who reported this scam to the FTC said they had sent cash.
This fraud is often called the “grandparent scam,” because in about 70 percent of incidents, the fraudster pretends to be the victim’s grandchild.
In most cases, this supposed grandchild calls the victim and claims to be in desperate need of money due to an accident, legal predicament or medical emergency.
As described in the FTC blog post:
… callers often give very specific instructions about how to send cash. Many people said they were told to divide the bills into envelopes and place them between the pages of a magazine. Then, according to reports, they were told to send them using various carriers, including UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service.
Aggregate losses from this scam totaled $41 million in the past year, compared with $26 million the previous year. The median amount for individual cash losses in the past year was a stunning $9,000, the FTC blog said.