Scam Artists Use Granddaughter to Exploit 73-Year-Old

A local woman sent about $8,800 overseas in hopes of bailing out her granddaughter. She later realized her granddaughter was never in any trouble.

Scam artists targeted a 73-year-old woman last week who was so upset at the thought of her granddaughter being in trouble that she wired more than $8,000 overseas to bail her out of jail.

The local woman called police around 9 p.m. Feb. 9, after she realized that she was the victim of a scam. She said that around 1:30 p.m. that day, she got a call from someone saying she was her "favorite granddaughter." Unsure of which granddaughter it was, the woman began to guess. The caller then pretended to be one of those granddaughters.

"The female caller then informed (the victim) that she was in a vehicle with three of her friends when they were pulled over by police," the report said. "The female caller advised (the victim) that drugs were discovered in the vehicle, she had been arrested and was in need of bond money."

The phone, at one point, was handed over to the "arresting officer" who told the victim she could spring her granddaughter out of jail by sending $2,400 to Lima, Peru. The woman did so and was later contacted again.

"(The man posing as the officer) advised that the 'judge' required an additional $12,000 in bond money but that (the victim) would only have to send another $6,400," the report said.

The grandmother, still concerned for her granddaughter's well being, decided to wire the rest of the money to Quito, Ecuador, as requested. She later contacted her granddaughter to see if everything worked out. The teen was sick in a dorm room at her Wisconsin college, the report said, and wasn't in any trouble. 

The victim was shaking so uncontrollably when talking to officers about the incident that they called in paramedics to help. She refused treatment but continued crying.

She was contacted Feb. 10 by a Western Union employee who said he was able to intercept the second payment because it was flagged as being suspicious. The $2,400 was not recovered, according to the report.

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Opinion 1 February 16, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I would like to know where the money was wired from. Has the originating place ever heard of 'scam' and could not figure this out to help this woman NOT make a mistake?!
Russ February 16, 2012 at 07:08 PM
This isn't the first time I have heard of this type of scam.The companies that wire money should have a general warning posted to avoid being taken by these con artists.
rita February 16, 2012 at 09:00 PM
You're absolutely right, Russ. And when they see the person is an elderly person, they should take some type of action to ensure the person is not the victim of a scam. I'm glad this poor lady got the bulk of her money back, it could have been a lot worse.


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