One typically targets grandparents, aunts and uncles who may be identified as a relative of a young adult through online postings on Websites such as Facebook, Hans Uthe said in an e-mail.
The family member typically gets a late night call from someone claiming to be the young adult or calling on behalf of the young adult who says there is a financial emergency.
The caller then asks the victim to immediately send money, usually by wire, to help. Getting arrested on spring break in Mexico and needing bail money is a common claim, Uthe said.
He advised anyone receiving such a call to contact someone who will know the young adult’s actual situation before wiring any money.
The second scam involves automated calls offering assistance with mortgage problems or claiming to be governmental agencies seeking to collect “unpaid tax obligations,” Uthe said.
“Bottom line: if you don’t know for sure who it is, don’t provide them with any information that could be used to victimize you,” Uthe said. “Any legitimate provider will have no problem providing you with a call-back number and the other information necessary to check them out through other sources before calling them back, if you choose to do so at all.”