WISCONSIN (WFRV) – With college students settling in on campus, many of them are living away from home for the first time and scammers are using that to their advantage with the so-called grandparent scam.

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of the scam which results in scammers calling family members pretending to be a child, grandchild, or friend who has run into a difficult situation, often while traveling.

The scammer may claim to have been arrested, mugged, or hospitalized and make urgent pleas for money targeted toward senior citizens.

“Receiving a frantic phone call may scare people into letting their guard down,” wrote the Better Business Bureau in a statement. “The BBB encourages everyone to make sure they know the signs of this scam.”

Officials with the Better Business Bureau say if you get such a call, resist requests to send money immediately. You should ask for a phone number to contact the person back, then check with other relatives to confirm the location of the person in question.

Consumers nationwide have reported about 450 family/friend emergency scams in the last three years according to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

Here are some tips to avoid the grandparent scam:

  • Know the red flags
  • Stay calm
  • Ask a personal question, but don’t disclose too much information
  • Do not wire money
  • Communicate
  • Make a report

For more details and information on the grandparent scam, you can head over to the Better Business Bureau’s website here.