'Grandparent's scam' costs Charlotte woman thousands - | WBTV Charlotte

'Grandparent's scam' costs Charlotte woman thousands

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Everyday, more and more of Charlotte's elderly are falling for something called the "grandparent's scam."

An 86-year old woman contacted WBTV after she lost $3,000.

She wanted to remain anonymous, because she's scared the scammers would come after her, but wants others to know how a moment of compassion can cost a lot of money. 

Last week, she tells WBTV she got an unexpected call from someone who sounded just like her grandson. 

"He said, I'm in jail and I need your help. He said, I went out to the bar and had a couple of beers. And when I was driving home, I ran into the back of a car and they called police," she said. 

The woman's instinct was to help out her loved one in need, so she told him she'd do whatever she could for him.

He then handed the phone to someone he called his lawyer. 

"This man came on and said, I'm representing your grandson and we need to get some money to get him out of jail. I said, what kind of money are you talking about?" she said. 

She says the lawyer told her to put three thousand dollars on a refundable green card she could buy at the drugstore. 

So the woman, who lives on social security did, all because she wanted to help her loved one. 

"It was my grandson's voice. I could have sworn it was my grandson's voice," she said. 

However, it wasn't, and by time she realized her grandson was safely at home, it was too late. 

"Three thousand dollars, there's nothing I can do. When I get my card bill, I'll have to pay it," she said. 

Janet Hart with the Better Business Bureau says she sees this scam all too often. 

"As soon as the grandparent wires the money or calls them with the prepaid debit card number, that money is gone and there's no way to retrieve it," Hart said. 

The woman said the man posing as her grandson asked her not to tell any other family members. She honored his request because she didn't want to break his trust. Hart tells WBTV that's a common mistake. 

"The best thing to do is call other family members to try to determine where that child is and are they in trouble," Hart said.

WBTV called the number back and got a law firm's recording. A quick search of that law firm reveals, it doesn't exist.

"I just can't imagine people that could do that," she said. 

So, if you get a frantic call like this, remember, the caller might not be who they say the are.

"If any of my kids were in trouble, I'd help them any way I could and that's what I was trying to do," she said. 

The North Carolina Attorney General's Office has a hotline setup to help victim's avoid scams like this in future, the number is 1-877-5NO-SCAM.

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