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Kwanzaa, which is based on traditional African harvest festivals, is celebrated every year from December 26 to January 1. The first principle of Kwanzaa is Umoja (unity) and the importance of finding ways to stay united and working together. Pulling together to protect loved ones — against scammers, for example — is especially important this time of year.

Just as we may be — at last — traveling to spend time together, scammers are scheming to convince you there’s a family emergency. Scammers pretend to be your loved one (or a friend, police officer, lawyer, or doctor) and try to scare you into sending money to (supposedly) help them. These scams often target older people and say it’s urgent and only you can help. The scam can play out in different ways but the bottom line is the same: the caller lies, tries to scare you, and rushes you to pay so you don’t have time to think twice or check things out before you send money.

Help protect those close to you. Tell family and friends what to do if they get a call like this:

  • Resist the urge to act right away — even if the story is dramatic.
  • Then, call or message your family member or loved one — even if the caller said not to. Use a number you know is right, not a number the caller gave you.
  • Most importantly, never send cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. Once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone. If you spot this or other scams, let us know at

Finally, enjoy your time with those close to you.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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December 20, 2021
Yep. I got one of those calls a couple of days ago. They posed as my grandson who lives in So Carolina as being in jail and needing bail money. Too bad they used a local number for the caller ID. That was a tip-off before I even answered the phone. I told him to call his dad and hung up.
December 20, 2021
Thanks all
December 23, 2021
Yes almost everyday have call and my phone have broken line . When I type make doable and make deferent word Thank you for helping Respectfully yours Remy
December 21, 2021
After getting 2 "grandson calls, " I spoke to each of my grandsons and said would you call me under those circumstances. The answer from each was I would call my parents. They would not want to worry me. I keep getting calls about credit cards. The bank said not to pay attention unless the last 4 numbers are mentioned and only then call the number on the back of the card.
marciaDon't us…
December 21, 2021
I got one that said "Hello Grandma, this is your grandson. How have you been? I have been missing you so much . I hope you are doing well." And i was suspicious and said "Who is this?" He said "your grandson. I can't believe you don't remember my voice" I wanted to say hello....." I said "Who did you say you are?" "He sounded less enthusiastic and said "Your grandson" I said " which one?" He hung up. I also got many variations of this. Always needing something . Don't fall for it.
Little Vic
December 27, 2021
My mom got several of these saying that they were the bail bondsman for my son on one of them and one actually pretended to be my son saying he had been in an accident. That his face was hurt and that’s why his voice sounded different. My mom is in her 90’s and has money so it’s pretty scary but luckily she called a friend of the family that is a lawyer.