Financial scams are on the rise and this scam, like the “Grandparent Scam”, will try to establish trust by impersonating your loved ones in a dire situation.  Scammers will call and try to convince you that someone close to you is in trouble and needs money.

How The Scam Works

Scammers may pose as relatives or friends, calling or messaging you to send money immediately.  They will claim that they are in trouble or need money for a major emergency – like a car accident, getting out of jail or returning from a foreign country.  The caller may claim to be embarrassed by the situation and urge you to keep this interaction a secret from other relatives or friends. 

To increase credibility, the scammer may claim to be a person of authority, like a lawyer or police officer.  It is their goal to put pressure on you so that you may act quickly and send money before you realize that it’s a scam.

Verify An Emergency

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), follow these steps to verify family emergency scams:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately — no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify before you act call or message your loved one who (supposedly) contacted you, even though the caller says not to.  Use a number you know is right, not one the caller gives you.
  • Don’t pay — Never send cash, gift cardscryptocurrencyor money transfers.  Once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone!
  • Report the scam to the FTC at

How To Prepare For This Scam

Talk to your family members and friends about imposter phone calls, how to recognize them and what to do if they receive one.  The scammer may have a lot of information about you or the person who they are pretending to be.  This information can be found on social media, or by hacking the email or social media account of the person close to you. 

Tip — According to, have a family password in place so when a family member receives a call, they can ask for it.  If the caller doesn’t know the password, you will be able to identify that it’s a scam. 

Make sure that your password is not something that can be easily found, like your first or last name, birthday, city/state, or any other personal information.  The scammer may have a lot of information about you or the person who they are pretending to be.

To learn more about Family Emergency Scams, watch this video created by the FTC, Family Emergency Imposter Scams.

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Banterra's top priority is preserving your privacy and keeping your financial information secure. We also believe it is our job to provide you with the resources so you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself. If you'd like to learn more about financial security, check out our resources at