Grandparent scams have become such a costly problem for American seniors, the US Senate’s Special Committee on Aging will hold a special meeting Wednesday to come up with possible solutions.
8 on Your Side has told you about scammers calling seniors pretending to be friends or relatives. The callers say they’re in serious trouble and need help. Then they ask for money. The Federal Trade Commission says Americans lost more than $73 million to imposter scams in 2013.
US Senator Bill Nelson chairs the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. He called Wednesday’s meeting to come up with ways authorities can better detect and prosecute these scammers.
"These scam artists are despicable and prey on seniors' willingness to do anything to help a family member in trouble,” said Sen. Nelson. "We've got to find ways to stop them from robbing seniors."
The BBB of West Florida gets reports of phone scams nearly every day. Director of Business Relations Bryan Oglesby says if a relative calls you in need, you should always confirm the problem with another relative before you send any money to help them.
"They're going to use scare tactics or they're going to use emotion,” said Oglesby. "Take a minute. Stop. Think about it. Hang up the phone. Verify the information that's being said to you."
Oglesby urges any phone scam victims report it to the FTC, State Attorney General's Office, or local BBB. Wednesday’s Senate hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. The FBI, FTC, and phone scam victims will testify.