That friendly voice on the phone sounds vaguely familiar (or the connection is spotty, the volume low or the voice slightly garbled). It might not be anyone you even know, warns Foley. That's because sometimes a con artist will assume someone else's identity to pull a con.
How it works: You answer the phone to hear "Hi Grandma," or "Hey, Aunt Phyllis." Caught unaware and not entirely sure, you ask, "Is that you, Bobby?" And of course it is.
Bobby says he's away from home and in a spot of trouble. You can't tell anyone (his parents or siblings), because they'll get mad-won't understand-don't know he's traveling. But he trusts you, and needs you to send or wire some money, says Pavelites. He will, of course, repay you.
Upend the con: Make an incorrect reference to something Bobby would know, Pavelites says. Like, "How are things in Buffalo?" when he lives in California. If Bobby doesn't correct you, hang up.
Even better, call someone who knows how you can reach Bobby directly. When you talk to the real Bobby, chances are you'll discover he wasn't your caller, says Foley.