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Posted: 1:10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, 2011

Beware of the 'grandma scam' on Facebook

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Your aging relatives can be easily scammed because of what you post about them on your own Facebook page around the holidays.

I read in The Arizona Republic  about what's being called the "grandma scam."

Here's how this one plays out: Somebody makes their way into your friends list and soon learns who you are, your age and gets a sense of who your relatives are. Then when you post something about your senior loved ones, the crook makes a note and tracks down their phone number.

They call your grandparent or whoever it is pretending to be you -- they already know everything about you from your Facebook page! -- and saying they (you) have been stranded in a car wreck or arrested or whatever. Then comes the punch line, but it's not funny at all: "Grandma, can you wire me money from a Western Union location?"

Sure enough, over and over again people fall for this one. Arizona's attorney general has even sent a letter to Western Union telling them about the grandma scam. He's asked the company to tell employees to question obviously distressed seniors who come in looking to wire money to grandchildren.

If you have put info on your Facebook page that easily identifies your grandparents, make sure you alert them about this hot scam.

By the way, I know this goes without saying, but take the time to set your Facebook privacy standards to restrict who gets to see the info on your Facebook page!

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