The “grandparent scam” is an extortion technique, that usually involves alleged attorneys or U.S. Government employees calling and claiming that a person’s relative – nearly always a purported grandchild – has been arrested/detained after being involved in a car accident in Mexico. The caller asks for a large sum of money to ensure the subject’s release. When the recipient of the call checks on their family member, they discover that the entire story is false.
There have also been a number of recent incidents when the purported grandchild is the one calling from Mexico. The family later finds out the true grandchild never left the U.S.
If the alleged detainee cannot be located in the U.S. and the family has reason to believe that the person did, in fact, travel to Mexico, contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate for assistance in determining if they have been detained by authorities.
Further information on international financial scams is available on the State Department website.