“I have an emergency and need money”

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If you’ve ever gotten one of those calls, you know how alarming they can be. And that’s exactly what the scammers count on. They want you to act before you think – and acting always includes sending them money: by wiring it or by getting a prepaid card or gift card, and giving them the numbers on the card. Either way, your money’s gone.

Here’s the story of Pablo Colón from Bridgeport, Connecticut, and his family. When both his sister and his father got a call about a family “emergency,” Pablo spotted the scam. And, luckily for the good people of Bridgeport, Pablo’s family owns a radio station – so he put the story on the air and warned his community.

Talking about a scam is important – even if only one person is listening, instead of the thousands who heard Pablo’s story. So watch this video. And then pass it on. Today, tell someone about this scam, about Pablo’s story, about why we should all talk about the scams we see. And, whenever you spot a scam, please tell the FTC.

Tagged with: imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I have a question.. I have been applying online and got response that I must fax my CV as well as my photo and it got me puzzled.do real companies ask for such when you apply?

What are you applying for?

I get calls from fake associations 'Ohio Trooper's Association wanting money and also for fake donations to our police associations. If you want to donate drive or call the local associations. The incoming calls are usually "unknown, private numbers.

The hispanic community is not the only people getting these calls! The elderly are also being targeted.

I have an elderly friend they got a telephone call saying her nephew was in trouble and needed $4,000 in her haste yes she sent money

I got a call recently from someone claiming to be my Grandson. I asked him what his birthday was...Surprise..surprise..He hung up...

My husband works for a major grocery chain that has Western Union Services in their store. Recently he had an older man come into the store wanting to send $3000 to someone in Las Vegas who had told him his brother had an emergency and needed the money. My husband was convinced this was a scam on the man and refused to help him send the money. He told him to call his brother immediately and confirm the situation. He also told him he must call Western Union directly and let them know of this scam. The gentleman did not return to his store, so we are not sure exactly what happened with this situation. Thanks for posting this story. It confirms that my husband was right and hopefully saved this man from being taken for a ride.

Cash Advanced on any credit card $15 transaction fee and it shows up as a standard charge

that same Scam happened to my Uncle in S. Florida 2 years ago. They told him his nephew's son was in jail & need bond money. Fortunately, the person at Western Union was aware of the scam, had my Uncle call & double-check with his Nephew, who confirmed that his son was NOT in Jail and saved my Uncle $2000!!!

Sue: The same thing happened to me today. Was told that my nephew was in jail and needed money. Sadly I did not have such an astute person at Western Union and I lost 1600.00 dollars. These people were good - very good. My nephew was home, exactly where he should have been

Keep these messages coming, they are a great public service.

Oh my God. I keep getting those calls , offering me a loan for 10,000 dollars , and saying that the money will be send it by wester union ir a prepaid card.

O I have gotten a called like that but it was an loan for 15000 lost 450 dollars

Yes, this one's been around a long time but appears to be on the rise again. Thanks FTC!

I got a call when this all started a few yrs.ago. The scammer knew family name and said was in jail in far away state. Needed $3,000. to get out. I fell for it at first and was very concerned/worried. However, since person not immediate family, I told scammer to call his Dad. When he said, "he'll get mad", I caught on. This was reported to FTC,FCC, and local police. It got to be called, The Grandma Scam".

Here in central NJ, a number of elderly people have been scammed by callers claiming to be grandchildren in jail unfairly in Mexico, who claim to need sometimes thousands of dollars in "bail money." Scammers need to be exterminated globally, because it's likely that at least some of the money they steal gets funneled to terrorist groups.

Get caller ID. If you know the phone number then answer the call. If you don't know the number then don"t answer the phone. A good idea also if you can is to leave the voice mail off. If they get an answer they will try you until they get you to answer. If they don't get an answer they don't know if they have a good active number or not.

Ever hear of spoofing Caller ID? https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/scammers-can-fake-caller-id-info This means scammers can show their number as a family number- or even yours! In this case, Caller ID won't help.

Unfortunately, Caller ID is no longer foolproof like it used to be thanks to today's technologies. However, it's still a useful tool to ignore numbers you don't know. If the unfamiliar number turns out to be someone you know, then they'll leave a message, and you can always call them back.

I can't play the media insert? Is there a Youtube or other such outlet with the recording?

Yes. The FTC does have a Youtube channel. Please try this link for the video mention in this blog post.

My mother, 85 at the time, aot one of these calls rwo years ago. A girl pretended to be a grand-daughter, nameless, and wanted money. My mother told her she'd [the caller] have to talk to her mother. My Mom was lucky!

I got a desperate call from someone claiming to be my nephew. I have to admit that the voice did sound somewhat like my nephew. He said he needed $600 to get to a town in CA where he left his truck. The story of how he got into this mess was long and complicated. I became a "parrot"; I told him over and over again that I have a strict policy about not sending any money to anyone for any reason, especially cash. He went on for several minutes more, then gave up. It may have been my nephew, but, odds are, it wasn't.

I just got a call, allegedly from my grandson, who said his voice sounded funny became he'd been in an auto accident and broken his nose. He said he was in Santo Domingo for the weekend with friends, and they'd been arrested because the driver had 2 lbs. of marijuana in the car. I knew he was at college in the U.S., and would never travel without telling his mother. I asked him if he'd called her, and he said he didn't want to upset her. I told him his accent didn't sound right, and asked him his name, at which point the call disconnected. I then called my real grandson, who was at school where he belonged, with no broken nose. If I had fallen for this scam, the next step would have been to ask me to wire money for bail. Luckily, I'm not that stupid. But I have to wonder how many people are naïve enough to be taken in by these cruel calls.

My Dad got one of thee calls years ago, while I was visiting him (he is in his 90s - very sharp). The caller claimed to be calling for his grandson. The caller used wrong name (my dad has only one grandson, my son). So he knew it was a scam. He 'messed' with the caller, keeping him on the line, asking me if I had had another son I never mentioned (We had some fun with the caller), until my Dad flat out told him he knew it was a scam, told him he would never get his money and to get a real and honest job - then he hung up. We laughed so much. No one gets one over on my dad.
I care for other seniors and Veterans - they are the targets of these calls and or letters. I caution them all the time - always verify the reason caller is asking for money. But never give out info.
Giant Eagle stores in our area are now checking and using a lot of verification methods when older customers come in to purchase high dollar amount gift cards or wire money. They have stopped saved several people from being scammed.
So yes - talk to you older family members. Let them know all is okay with grand kids - and too call them first before sending money.

I hear that this Act may be cited as the "FOIA Improvement Act of 2016"

I recently received a call from the Washington area, and a man with a very heavy accent told me that the government had some grants and I was receiving one. It was for $7,000. All I had to do was give them my checking account numbers so they could deposit it. Or, it could be my savings account or credit card numbers. Any would do. Fortunately, I knew that the government didn't have someone with an unintelligible accent making such calls!! I played him along, telling him I had plenty of money and to give it to someone who really needed it. I know that was dumb now, after a friend pointed it out. I told my story on FaceBook as I figured it would get out that way. I'm glad I didn't fall for it, but I sure upset the caller. He kept saying, "My God!! I'm just trying to do my job!" lol

Hi I had one of those Grant calls before and almost fell for it until they told me I had to pay to get it and I finally figured it was a scam. No one is going to give you free money without something in return so I just hung up on them after I was placed on hold lol. I think I kinda ticked them off enough to where they just don't even bother to call anymore (hardly) which is good saves my Grandma from getting into a mess she won't be able to get out of she is almost 100 and doesn't need to deal with them. When they do call they don't want to call back and talk to someone who is able to answer any questions nor do they want to give a phone number to be contacted. Found that out a few months ago over something one of them called my Grandma for. I went to get on the line they hung up. I told grandma next time to just hang up if she didn't know who the person was.

Thanks for sharing your experience, and letting others know about this scam.

I have Verizon and a lot of these calls I add them to the "Block Call" list in addition I'm on the Do Not Call Registry. When these annoying soliciter's, charities etc. call, my telephone doesn't even ring as well I use the call block feature on my cell phone as well.

I get them all the I called the Dept. Of Ed said was a scam so I fixed a report.

I was told that I had to send money to this person who claimed to be from Boston but was in Nigeria. He said he was a computer engineer. I do not believe him. His name was Raymond Timothy.

i need to cancel the tranfer i made about 9pm 16 pmth the 16 of april 2017 i used the wrony card

ROMANCE SCAMMERS, REQ TO BE FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK, THEN THEY YOUSE MESSENGER TO TALK WITH YOU, TELL YOU THEY ARE LOOKIN GFOREARD TO REIRE WITH SOMEONE SPECIAL. THEY WORK ON SHIPS AND WORK FOR CARGO AND SHIPPING COMPANIES. THAT THEY ARE BUSINESS MEN IN AU GOLD AND SILVER BUSINESS AND TRAVELLING TO BUT GOLD.TELLS YOU SHIP IS A ATTACKED BY PIRATES AND ALL MONEY AND BELONGINGS TAKEN. THEY HAVE NO MONEY TO GET HOME AND ASK YOU TO SEND MONEY FOR PLANE TICKET. THEY ARE VERY CHARMING SO BE CAREFUL WITH PRIVATE INFORMATION DO NOT SHARE.

I have a Panda antivirus. A year later I'm getting calls from "Panda" saying there are problems with software - a "breach". I call the number. They want to refund my charge for the Panda antivirus. I'm online and have my banking on screen. They refund too much money; they added a zero. Now to get their money back, I should go to Walmart and buy $2000 worth of I-Tune gift cards. Now I'm scared. They say don't hang up. I got my husband's cell phone and called the bank because my screen was frozen. She said to cut power to computer. I did. The lady at the bank told me the deposit "accidentally" sent by these thieves who SAID they were from Panda was actually moved from my money market account to my savings account. They could move it and freeze my screen, but they could not take it out. So it looked like I needed to refund them a large amount of money.

If you think someone got access to your bank account, contact your bank right away and ask them how to protect your money.

The call you got might be a refund scam. That happens when cons call people who lost money, and promise to give them refunds, but really want to rip them off again.

A scammer can say he put money in your account, but that doesn't mean it's true. It might look like there's a deposit, but it could be a bad check that will bounce. Or, he might put money in and withdraw it a few minutes later.

Bridget I agree with you. As for deposits of their checks into your account (not yours officially but as example) they can and will withdraw the money leaving you to pay for heavy overdraft fees so its best NOT give any fiancial info out to anyone no matter how badly you think its a family member in trouble or not. What you could do is contact your bank and tell them to stop any incoming checks that your not fimuilar with that might help keep your account safe as well. A lot of scammers do come up with new ways everyday to scam innocent people out of their hard earn money. YouTube has a lot of videos on different scams and how to protect yourself from being scammed. Hope this helps.

Hi honestly I have never gotten them calls yet. So far I had calls from scammers pretending to be Microsoft and I think so far I keep getting those calls about a back brace I ordered which I never did (not sure if its a scam). All I do is hang up on them a lot so I guess they figured the more I hang up on the more chances they won't be getting any money.

I been getting calls from a woman who says she makes her living by having people put $100 in western union than I get $1000.00 back she sent receipts and had 7 people call saying it's legit yes or no? She talks to me every day I don't know if its illegal or fake

About a year a go I signed up on a dating site and read all the FTC dating scam blogs. Almost right off, a guy engaged me in conversation that seemed to fit the dating scammer profile, so I intentionally went along with things.

It was quite an education. The guy followed what the FTC Dating Scam advice listed as common warning steps completely. Within just a couple of days, we were off the dating site texting and exchanging pics on our cell phones.

Within a week, he said he had to go to Nigeria for his Oil business. Within the next week he was asking me for $1,000 for taxes he had to pay in advance for a new deal he was trying to close.

This is an experienced business man who (according to him) owns three homes in other countries, and doesn't have a measly $1,000 in taxes? Really? for a deal for over a million dollars?

He then says he only needs $400, as he has borrowed the other $600 from another lady. I gave him very logical answers for why I would not give him money, never letting on I knew he was a scammer, like his cell phone area code was from MA and he didn't even know what MA stood for! and taxes are taken out AFTER a deal, not before. At this point he gave up: total texts equaled 500.

Over the next few months, I noticed other patterns not mentioned in the FTC blogs: scammers don't read/understand what is written in my self-introduction, scammers don't write intros, or write overly luby-duby intros, scammers don't answer more than about 21 questions (where as I answer over 1000).

I was scammed last week and purchased $1,966 in Money Pak cards. I only scratched off the numbers on one card and gave that information to the scammer. How do I recoup my money for the three cards I have yet worth $1,466?

You could call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 and ask them what is possible. Or, you could go back to the store that sold you the card and ask if you can return the cards.

I got a call from a company claiming to be usa loan net, and we had been qualified for 3000.00, but was told they would deposit 500 into out account and to verify our identity, they would need us to send it back, then the rest of the money would be deposited into our account. I called the company they claimed to be they had no record of us. the phone number to these people is 773-765-4289

CHECK THIS OUT:
SOME GUY ON FACEBOOK TRIED TO WOE ME FOR A FEW MONTHS. I WAS ON MY GUARD FROM THE START. THEN AFTER ABOUT 2 MONTHS OF TELLING ME I WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO HIM, HE EMAILED ME WITH AN EMERGENCY ABOUT HIS CHILD AND ASKED ME TO SEND $1600 TO HIS HOME IN OHIO RIGHT AWAY.IT WAS TO SOME APARTMENT ADDRESS. HE MUST HAVE BEEN A BEGINNER BECAUSE HIS STORY HAD A LOT OF HOLES IN IT. I DIDN'T FALL FOR IT, REPORTED IT TO FACEBOOK. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DO WITH THE INFO BUT I REALLY HOPE FACEBOOK REPORTS ALL THE SCAMS THAT HAPPEN ON THERE. I HAVE HAD 3 SCAMS IN 1 YEAR ON THERE AND REPORTED ALL OF THEM TO FACEBOOK.

Was his last name Calton?

I MET THIS LADY ON FACEBOOK CLAIMING ME TO BE HER BOYFRIEND AND SHARING MY PICTURE WELL I THINK SHE IS SCAMMING ME I'VE BEEN BUYING THESE ITUNE CARDS TAKING A PICTURE OF THEM SENDING THEM TO HER I'M TRYING TO AVOID HER SHE PUT UP 2 PICTURES OF THESE GUYS CLAIMING TO BE POLICE OFFICERS SHE CALLS FROM THIS NUMBER (614)452-4436 I DONT EVEN ANSWER IT SHE IS CALLING FROM REYNOLDSBURG OHIO CITY OF COLUMBUS OHIO

my mom is elderly.. my daughter got into an accident..thus guy said he spoke to judge. although no damge on car the judge said for her to pay off the 4k cc bill. wth.. asked for sams card in 4 k. they guy did approach my daughter which is mad scary.. he keot telling her you will lose ur license etc. guy pretends to be from baker and mckenzie llp in nyc. i called them directly they said it is a scam.. bill perry is a scam arteat and he gives u the nearest sams club, walmart, target etc. do not engage with him. so i told him my daughters car is broke. i do t drive take me for the cards and ill gice em to you. i had 2 cops arrest him on site. hes out and still doing this scam. i. beleive the driver bacjs into u at a light. very ellaborate sceme. his number is a 646 number..

In any cases where you end up wiring money - are there any services that can help you recover your losses?

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