The 'grandparents scam' has been around for a long time but as technology evolves, scammers are using artificial intelligence to take the old ruse to new lows.

The Grandparents Scam Explained

Crooks have been preying on older individuals for decades, attempting to swindle them out of their hard-earned savings. Typically the sham is carried out over the phone as bad actors place distress calls to unsuspecting seniors. They often claim that something bad has happened like a car accident or that they've been arrested.

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Worried - and often vulnerable - grandparents can be easy targets because they're eager to help and can't stand the idea of a grandchild being put in a bad situation.

The fix is always money. The perpetrator will ask the victim to send money, usually in the form of a gift card, which can be sent as a picture or by reading the information over the phone.

And once the money's gone, it's gone.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Enhance the Grandparents Scam

As the use of AI becomes more prevalent, crooks are using voice cloning programs to mimic the voices of grandkids to make those distress calls sound even more authentic.

And thanks to social media, YouTube, and TikTok, those grandkid voices are easily obtainable to crooks willing to do a little internet sleuthing.

It's Happening in Michigan

The Tuscola County Sheriff's Department tells Saginaw's WNEM-TV that the ever-evolving scheme has been carried out, with at least one county resident reporting that they'd been victimized.

The sheriff's department says it's more important than ever to verify the recipient before sending wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or gift card information. Hang up and call the supposed victim or another family member like the grandchild's parent to verify that there's actually cause for concern.

If you suspect that you've been the victim of a scam, you can file a complaint here or contact the Michigan Attorney General's office at 877-765-8388.

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