Scammers use woman's love for grandson to get money

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

By Courtney Lane - bio - email

EAST TEXAS - A 95-year old East Texas woman has been scammed out of nearly 5-thousand dollars, money she saved for her funeral. What's even worse is that the scammers preyed on her love for her grandson to get the money. The FBI says this scam is running rampant and you, especially seniors, need to be warned.

95-year old Oleta Turner has grandchildren all over the country. When one called, claiming to be in trouble with a DWI in Canada, she didn't think twice about helping him. Here's part of the story he told:

"I only had 2 drinks but I was driving and I had a wreck and these people they carried him to the hospital and so they put us in jail and I spent the night there and I need to pay for my fine," Turner quoted the scammer.

She said he sounded just like her grandson, and played the role perfectly. Even telling her "I love you grandma" when she promised to run to a Western Union.

"I would do anything for my grandchildren and certainly I didn't want him to be in trouble and that's what he told me," said Turner.

"It's almost like 'the perfect scam'. It causes you use Western Union where you have no tracking, expect tracking numbers," said Rick Thorpe, her son-in-law. "You basically can kiss the money goodbye."

The FBI said scammers call random numbers with the same story. Rick Thorpe said they work victims like his mother-in-law and trick them into thinking they're family members.

"The way they phrase things, they get information from the person they're talking to and then feed it back to them." said Thorpe.

"It just made me mad really," said Turner. "Because I had let someone do that to me. You work hard for your money all your life and then somebody gets it from you when you're 95 years old."

Ms. Turner said she tucked-that money away for funeral expenses.

"It's horrible," said Thorpe "It's just awful."

They are just hoping others can be saved from falling victim.

Ms. Turner lost another $200, sending the money on top of the $4,200. If you get a call like this, whatever you do, don't rush to send money without calling and checking around first. While Ms. Turner had to show her ID at Western Union, all the scammer needs is the tracking number to steal your money.