Burke County grandmother says she paid scammers $8,200

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — A Burke County grandmother says she fell for a scam and that she paid more than $8,000.

It’s called the “Grandma, Grandpa, It’s Me” scam. Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke has reported on this con before. But it’s alive and well — in fact, just this week, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning about it.

We’ll call her Linda. She says a man called her, pretending to be her grandson. You think she’d recognize her own grandson’s voice, but she said “he supposedly had a broken nose from the airbag, and stitches in his lip,” especially over the phone.

The caller — her so-called grandson — told her to call his lawyer. So she did. “He was just so smooth with everything and so I believed him,” she told Stoogenke.

Linda says that man said her grandson was in jail, that he was arrested for crashing into a pregnant driver, and that he needed bail money. She says she gave it to the caller: $8,200.

She told Stoogenke she had been saving that money for nearly two years.

“It makes me mad. It makes me emotional,” she said. “I just let my emotions get involved and my brain went out the window.

The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office told Stoogenke that last year, victims lost more than $152,000 to this scam and that this year, they have already lost more than $156,000. So more money has been lost this year, than all of last year and we’re only in September.

Linda says she told deputies and told Action 9 to get the word out.

This scam has some very clear red flags:

  • The caller is usually crying — to disguise his or her voice better.
  • The caller explains the tears because he or she is either a) under arrest or b) hurt.
  • The fake grandchild then hands the phone to an officer or medical person, respectively.

If you have any doubts, hang up and call your grandchild yourself. If the caller won’t let you, be very suspicious.

And Linda suggests this: “We’ve made a code name so, if anything like this comes up again, if they don’t know that code, then they’re not getting anything out of me.”

(WATCH BELOW: Action 9: Woman loses $2500 due to Cash App scam)