This scam actually happened to our CEO’s grandfather and is very common. Being in data broker databases exposes us and family members to this risk.
We call it the grandparent scam. It’s pretty easy to piece together family members from people search sites for just a few dollars per person. Scammers will target an elderly family member pretending to be, say, a great nephew or grandchild who needs their help.
For example, they will call on the phone and say, “Hi Grandma, this is Johnny, your grandson. Hey, I got into a bind and accidentally ended up in jail. I need $8,000 for bail. Can you please help me?”
Some unfortunate grandparents will actually wire money to these scam artists thinking they are helping out their grandchild. Once that money is gone, you never can get it back. And the scammers are in the wind.
This might not sound like something you would fall for. And most people don’t. But these scammers only need it to work a small percent of the time to make a lot of money. And they are really good at it. Also, it’s not just you that is at risk. Maybe someone in your family could fall prey to it even though you wouldn’t.
It’s safest to remove yourself from data broker databases and recommend this to your family members as well.