Officials warn of scams targeting grandparents

Scammers impersonate family and friends

MADISON, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin–Madison Police Department asks students to talk with family members about scams targeting grandparents during the holiday break.

This warning comes after a Madison couple lost $80,000 to a scammer pretending to be their grandson.

With the rise of technology, UWPD said people are able to "spoof," a process in which the number that appears on caller ID is not the true person calling. 

UWPD said with personal information, scammers can impersonate family and friends, say they're in trouble and need money. Some scammers will ask victims to send cash, money orders or purchase gift cards. By the time the victim realizes what's happened, the money is gone.

UWPD recommends doing research into popular scams and how they ask for money. In privacy settings on social media, UWPD recommends hiding birth dates, phone numbers and locations. 

If you feel like someone is scamming you, UWPD said hang up, ask more questions or call a trusted family member. Talk to someone else before sending money or gift cards.

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