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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Family Imposter Scams

Family Imposter scams: Know your relationships, take steps to verify

A criminal posing as a relative claims to be in trouble and funds are needed immediately.

  • Scammers spike your emotional response.
  • Claims are made that a horrible incident occurred involving a family member.
  • Contacts are asked to keep the situation private.
  • Funds are requested urgently to help resolve the emergency.
  • Common forms of payment include wire transfers, gift cards and cash.
  • Funds sent likely cannot be retrieved.

Scam Recovery


Slow down, log the contact. Make One call to a contact, Call an organization who cares

Avoiding the Family Imposter/Emergency Scam

Steps to Verify

  1. Start with the SLOW method; consult with your close contacts and reach out to an organization in your life who cares. They may spot something you don’t.
  2. Keep phone numbers to your trusted family and friends in an easy to locate place.
  3. Make up a secret code to use among family members and exchange it during actual family emergencies.
  4. Never send money to parties you cannot verify.
Video Survey CAP Connection: More about Family Emergency Scams


Share this information with someone you care about.

Handout   Imposter Scams Toolkit  Learn More

Recovering from this scam?  Get help now.

Recover from Scams 1

1-800-649-2424    |    ago.cap@vermont.gov