Phone scam alert

APPLETON — Authorities have warned about so-called grandparent scams for years now, but scammers still are able to find unsuspecting victims.

And scam calls targeting area residents have jumped in recent days.

According to the Appleton Police Department, law enforcement in the area has seen an increase in grandparent scams occurring over the past few days.

The scam begins with an unexpected call from someone purporting to be a grandchild or relative claiming they are in difficult situations and that they need money immediately.

Some reported scams involve the scammer saying they have been arrested, mugged or hospitalized, according to the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB urges people not to let their guard down and to follow these tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Be aware of the red flags that typically include the caller saying they are in trouble and asking the called party not to tell their family about the call.
  • Instead of reacting emotionally, stay calm and contact other members of the family to determine if the call is legitimate.
  • Ask the caller a personal question without disclosing too much information. Families can consider creating a secret code to use during a true emergency.
  • Do not wire money if you aren’t certain of the recipient’s identity.
  • Students should regularly communicate with their family, especially about travel plans.
  • Report the scam to the BBB.

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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.