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.
Avoiding the Family Imposter/Emergency Scam
Steps to Verify
- 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.
- Keep phone numbers to your trusted family and friends in an easy to locate place.
- Make up a secret code to use among family members and exchange it during actual family emergencies.
- Never send money to parties you cannot verify.