The Basics of Family Emergency Scams
A family emergency imposter scam is a type of fraud where the scammer poses as a family member or friend in need of urgent financial assistance. You will typically be contacted by phone, email, or social media and told that your relative or friend is in some kind of trouble and needs money immediately. The scammer may say that they are stranded somewhere, have been in an accident, or have been arrested. They may also claim to be in the hospital or facing eviction. The scammer will often use emotional manipulation to convince you to send money, often through gift cards, wire transfer, or prepaid debit cards. They may also ask you to provide personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information.
3 Common Tactics Used by an Imposter Scammer
There are several common tactics that scammers use in a family emergency imposter scam to trick people into giving them money or personal information, such as:
- Posing as a family member or friend in need of urgent help. The scammer may contact you by phone, email, or social media and claim to be a family member or friend in need of money for an emergency. They may use personal information about you to make the request seem more credible.
- Pretending to be a representative from a government agency or other organization. The scammer may contact you claiming to be a representative from a government agency or other organization. They may say that your family or friend is in trouble, and that you need to pay a fine or fee or else your family or friend will be arrested.
- Using high-pressure tactics. The scammer may use high-pressure tactics to get you to send money quickly, before they have time to verify the information. They may claim that the money is needed urgently for medical treatment, or to avoid arrest or deportation. They may also threaten to hurt you or your family if you do not pay.