Elderly woman falls victim to 'granny scam,' loses thousands

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by Mike Colombo / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Updated Friday, May 11 at 11:31 AM

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Missouri (KMOV) -- A St. Louis County woman is working to replace her savings after she lost a big chunk of it to a common telephone scam.

The grandson of Oneida Crader, 84, lives very close to her. So she was surprised when he called last week and told her he was in jail in Peru and needed money to get out.

“So he said I need $4, 200 and I said, ‘Nathan, I don’t have that kind of money.’”

The man on the phone said he could get out for $2,500, so she wired the money to him through Western Union.

But then the man called back and said he needed more. That’s when Crader realized the caller was not her grandson and she had fallen victim to a scam.

Crader said she felt embarrassed and stupid.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Crader is one of many to face the “granny scam,” as it’s been dubbed.

Experts say it’s important to tell elderly relatives to always check first before wiring money to anyone.

“If you get a phone call like this asking to wire money, that you call other family members to ask what is going on so that you don’t send the money some place,” said Chris Thetford with the Better Business Bureau.

“That’s what I should have done and I think if anyone else is bothered with this that’s what they should do,” said Crader.

Crader said she was going to use that money for a new furnace and air conditioner. She said now that might have to wait.

Experts say the scammers in these types of operations are often based in Canada.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has established a special center dedicated to finding them and protecting consumers. Click here to visit.

 

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