Don't be a victim of the 'Grandparent scam'

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Jun 04 2014 04:26:25 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 05 2014 07:20:00 AM EDT

It's a scam targeting thousands of grandparents across the country.

"One morning I answered the phone… and this young fella said, "Hi Grandma,'" explained Wanda Wood.

Wood says the voice sounded like her grandson and he said he needed help and money immediately.

"I really and truly believed it was Matt, the kid sounded like Matt," admitted Wood.
 
Postal inspectors say Wood is one of thousands of Americans who have been victims of the so-called "Grandparent scam." There are countless variations on the stories told.

U.S. Postal Inspector Ann Kriedt explains another case.
 
"Somebody had called her in the middle of the night saying her grandson had been in an accident and was injured and she needed to wire money immediately to help him out," Kriedt said.

The victim in that case was asked to send $5,000.

"Somebody claiming to be her grandson actually got on the phone crying and told her to help him and send him money as quickly as he could," Kriedt explained.

That victim sent the money in an express mail package. Inspectors say days later this victim learned her grandson was fine and she had been scammed.

The good news is Jerome Mills was arrested in connection with this second case.  He was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy and sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Meantime, the way to avoid becoming of a victim of this scam requires you to do one thing:

"If you get a call in the middle of the night, call your son or daughter and say, 'Where is so and so? Are they ok? I just got this call,'" Kriedt advised.

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