It starts with a frantic phone call from a grandchild. I’m in trouble. I need your help. I need money fast. I love you. Please don’t tell anyone. It all seems so real … but is it? Be careful, it could be a ‘grandparent scam,’ where criminals try to trick caring grandparents out of thousands of dollars. With the popularity of social media and people willing to share personal information scammers can learn enough about your family to make their stories sound frighteningly real. The scammer pretending to be your grandchild or even another family member or friend will usually claim they’ve been arrested, injured or robbed in a big city or a foreign country... And they’ll say they need you to wire them money. The caller might even hand the phone to someone else claiming to be a police officer, doctor, or some other official to make it sound more real. And even if the caller begs you not to tell anyone about the situation it’s important that you take the time to check the story. Tell the caller to give you a phone number or to call you back then try calling the grandchild’s actual phone number or another family member to verify where they might be. And be especially wary if the caller is asking you to wire them money immediately because these transfers can be hard to track once the criminal picks the cash up. And once they get the money, you can’t get it back. Remember, it’s natural to be concerned but be careful and so you don't get conned.