Fraudsters use a sense of urgency to trick you into sending money before you realize it’s a scam. They impersonate your family or friends claiming they are in an emergency situation, requesting money or information to help them out. Learn about emergency scams and how to protect yourself from them.
What you need to know
If someone calls you claiming to be a family member or friend in an emergency and urgently asks you for money, don't fall into their trap. Sometimes, they may have another person pretending to be an authority figure, such as a police officer, to scare you.
Don't feel pressured into providing your personal or banking information to anyone. Also, be skeptical if someone asks you to wire money immediately.
Be wary if someone requests you to keep a situation confidential and not share the details of your conversation with anyone else.
In an emergency scam, fraudsters pose as family members or friends. They'll call or send messages saying they’re in an emergency situation and need you to wire them money immediately. Often, fraudsters target grandparents and pretend to be their grandchild in trouble. They may claim to be in a car accident, have trouble getting home from a trip or need money for bail.
How emergency scams work
Someone contacts you pretending to be your family member or friend in an emergency. Sometimes, the caller is with someone claiming to be a police officer.
The caller asks you questions to get your personal and banking information.
The caller asks you to keep the situation hidden from other family members or friends, as they don’t want them finding out what happened.
The caller asks you to wire money to them immediately.
Stay safe with our tips
Use a known phone number to contact the family member or friend claiming to be in trouble
Never send money to anyone you don’t know or trust
Don't share your credit or debit card details or any personal information online or by text message
Be cautious and avoid acting immediately, regardless of the situation
Avoid using untraceable methods to deliver money, such as wire transfers
Confirm the identity of the individual by asking questions a stranger wouldn't be able to answer
Tell your trusted family members or friends about the situation, even if you’re told to keep it confidential