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A phone call was all it took for one Lawrenceburg woman to get scammed out of $4,100 — and she wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
The woman asked not to be identified, but wanted to share her story in hopes of keeping others from the same fate.
A couple of weeks ago, the woman answered her phone and heard what she thought was her grandson on the other end.
“Grandma, it’s your favorite grandson,” the caller said.
The caller kept up the charade and told the woman he had been in a car accident in a rental car and needed a money gram for $4,100. That would be enough to get him out of jail and pay his fine, he told her.
He asked her not to call his parents because he wanted to tell them what happened face to face.
“And I didn’t call them because I didn’t want to break his confidence,” the woman said.
The caller even put an “attorney” on the phone to verify his story and tell the woman where to send the money.
“He was just as nice as could be,” she said. “I was just so upset. My grandson — he’s never been into anything, but my only thought was that I wanted to get him home.”
“He got to her heart,” said Det. Mike Schell with the Lawrenceburg Police Department. Schell investigated and verified the woman’s complaint.
The woman purchased the money gram, and the caller called again to get the confirmation number.
Between her emotions and the preparedness of the callers, the woman said she didn’t take time to question anything.
“He just had it so down pat,” she said.
Within a day or so, while talking with her grandson’s parents, the woman asked for his cell phone number. She was worried about him, so she called his cell and left a voicemail.
Once he received it, he returned her call and she found out that he had been safe all along.
That’s when she took her complaint to the police.
Looking back on the situation, the woman said she should have known from the caller’s first words that he wasn’t really her grandson.
“He called me grandma,” she said. “All my grandchildren call me granny.”
Sure enough, the money had been sent to an account in Canada, Schell said.
These types of scams are all too common, Schell said. Most of the time, the money gets sent to Nigeria.
Schell said the caller probably picked the woman’s number at random from a phone book or from the Internet.
Both Schell and the woman wanted to create awareness of the situation and urge local residents to be on alert in case a similar scam comes up.
E-mail Shannon Mason Brock at firstname.lastname@example.org.