Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The AARP has alerted South Carolina seniors about a scam that uses the stolen identity of beloved family members to steal money.
According to the AARP, the scammers call a grandparent and impersonate a grandchild.
"When they call the grandparent, they'll say 'Hi! I'm your granddaughter' and they may not even supply the name," said Teresa Arnold with AARP South Carolina. Then the grandparents reply with a name and give the scammers more information than they had before.
"Don't fill in the blanks," said Arnold. "When they say 'This is your granddaughter', don't say 'Mary?'. Say 'which one?' and they'll probably hang up because they'll know you're not going to be fooled."
Arnold also says, "Don't give out your account number to anybody, anytime over the phone."
There are some things you can do to help keep yourself safe from having your identity stolen says Arnold. "Verify your caller. Say I'll call you back," and "be suspicious of money wires. Anytime someone wants you to wire money be suspicious."
Also, proofread any online profiles you have for information that could provide a crook with information about you.
"My facebook account and probably yours has my middle name which I use for a lot of my passwords. So, I have to take that off," said Arnold.
If those tips fail to keep your identity safe, you can freeze your credit card information for free in South Carolina.
"If someone stole your id, they would use your good credit to go get a credit card," said Arnold. "If you put a lock on it with our security freeze they can't get to it."
For information about freezing your credit information, visit the AARP online or call them toll free at 1-866-389-5655.