How Grandparent Scam on Western Union Works

A hacker acting as a relative in need or someone claiming to speak for the relative (such as a lawyer or law enforcement agency) approaches the victim by phone or email and asks for money to be transmitted to them via Western Union in a standard grandparent scam. The “relative” calls the grandparents and says she is in danger and needs money for jail, legal fees, medical expenses, or some other false expense.

Play the part of grandparents who get a call or email claiming to be from their grandson. I need money sent quickly to pay my bail because I was detained in another country, he claims. Keep my parents’ secret or they’ll kill me! All of this was done by a person posing as a member of a Western Union hacking community. Such circumstances are well described by the term “grandparent scam.”

Senior citizens are frightened by telephone scammers using the “Troubled Loved-One” technique.

Authentic Western Union Hackers are swindling grandparents out of thousands of dollars across the nation by pretending to be distressed grandchildren and utilizing Western Union hack tools to deceive them. In one Michigan case, grandparents were kidnapped for $33,000. They wired $3,000 to a person they believed to be their grandson when he contacted and demanded to pay a $3,000 fine after being caught fishing without a license in Canada. As a result, the hacker gained access to their MTCN number and they began to question whether the Western Union hack was real. Grandparent Scam on Western Union

The supposed grandson called to tell that his yacht had been searched and that alcohol and drugs had been found, and that he needed $30,000 to post bail to get out of a Canadian prison. They were detained for an additional $30,000 as a result.

How the grandparent Fraud on Western Union Work

A grandmother receives a call from a person they accept to be their grandchild while staring wide-eyed. The purported grandchild sounds distressed and could be calling from a noisy location. The alleged grandchild claims to be in a difficult situation while traveling in Canada or abroad, such as being arrested, being involved in an auto accident, or needing emergency vehicle repairs, and asks the grandparent to quickly wire money to post bail, pay for medical treatment, or fix the vehicle, when in reality the hacker just wants to get free access to the Western Union MTCN number. The con artist typically asks for a few thousand dollars, and depending on how well they know how to hack western union money, they may even ask for more money a few hours or days later.

The individual may threaten to humiliate the grandparent over the ostensible problem and ask them to keep silent. Two con artists could play a part in the ruse; the main conman phones and poses as the grandchild who is being held captive. At that time, the next con man calls the grandparent while posing as a cop and informs them of the penalty they need to pay. On the other hand, the con artist might pose as a family member or neighbor and possess knowledge of how to breach the western union database.

The grandparent’s request to send money through Western Union or MoneyGram or to provide financial balance steering numbers is a common target of the overseas Western Union scam. Transferring cash by wire transfer is similar to sending money; the sender is not protected. Normally, it is quite improbable that you will be able to reverse the transaction, follow the money, or get your money back via phone fraud. It’s possible that con artists use the Internet to research their targets.

The internet makes it simple to find names, addresses, birth dates, and phone numbers. In order to learn about someone’s vacation plans, con artists may also check Facebook or other long-distance informal communication sites (especially in the spring and middle of the year, when many families take vacations), and then contact the person’s grandparents while claiming to be the real grandchildren. Another possibility is that the scam artists are randomly dialing numbers until they reach a senior resident. The elderly resident occasionally unintentionally “fills in the spaces” for the criminal.

Tips to Avoid a Grandparent Scam

  • The imposter may hand the phone off to another fraudster who poses as a doctor, police officer, or attorney and supports the story, providing just enough information about where and how the event occurred to make it sound credible. The “grandchild” begs the victim to send money right away and adds the frantic request, “Don’t tell Mom and Dad!”
  • Fraudsters have also been known to use social media, text messages, and email to spread this scam. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FBI have issued warnings about an increase in grandparent scams amid the coronavirus pandemic as con artists prey on people’s emotional vulnerabilities and heightened anxiety about loved ones being sick.
  • Grandparent scams and similar schemes are widespread; from 2015 to the first quarter of 2020, the FTC received more than 91,000 allegations of fraudsters impersonating victims’ friends or family members. And they can be profitable: According to an eight-person federal indictment from July 2021, a countrywide fraud network utilized this deception to allegedly steal $2 million from over 70 senior citizens over the course of 11 months in 2019 and 2020.


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