FOX19 Investigates: 'Grandparent Scam' targets seniors - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 Investigates: 'Grandparent Scam' targets seniors

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"I thought I was an educated woman and I did the stupidest thing!" Neva Nutgrass of Amelia told FOX19. "It is so real. You can't even imagine how real it sounds." "I thought I was an educated woman and I did the stupidest thing!" Neva Nutgrass of Amelia told FOX19. "It is so real. You can't even imagine how real it sounds."
(FOX19) -

For Neva Nutgrass of Amelia, her introduction to the "Grandparent Scam" began with a phone call.

"I thought I was an educated woman and I did the stupidest thing!" Nutgrass said.  "It is so real.  You can't even imagine how real it sounds."

When she answered an early morning phone call in April, Nutgrass heard a young man's voice that sounded panicked.  He claimed he was her grandson.

"This voice said Grandma and that went through my heart just then," Nutgrass said. "Then when he said he had something to tell me and I wasn't to tell anyone else."

The man claiming to be Nutgrass's grandson told her he'd been arrested in a mix-up in Florida and needed money to get his case before a judge as soon as possible.  She was told to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak Card.

"This is a way you can send money to people where they can get it and it can't be traced," Nutgrass said.

Nutgrass rushed to Kroger and purchased two $1,000 cards.  Then she called back and gave the number from the prepaid debit card.  Just like that, the scammer made $2,000.

87-year old Dorothy Gillespie of Colerain Township also fell for it.  She lost $3,000 in the scam.

"It makes me very angry," said Dorothy's son, John Gillespie.  He describes his mom as "always giving all her life."

So when someone called Dorothy claiming to be her grandson who was stuck in Mexico and needed money, she did exactly what the caller said.

"She was actually being asked to give three thousand dollars to cover his passport and all of the paperwork stuff they kept saying make sure he doesn't want his mom to know," Gillespie said

The scam takes on many different forms, but most often law enforcement refers to this as the Grandparent Scam.

"I can almost guarantee you that tonight somewhere in Ohio, there is a grandparent falling for the grandparent scam," said Attorney General Mike DeWine.

According to DeWine it's a scam that usually has the same four factors.  First, someone calls claiming to be a grandchild and they say they are somewhere other than home.  Then they tell the victim not to tell their mom or dad.  They claim to be in trouble and then they ask for money.  It's a perfect ploy that works over and over again.

"For every one that actually contacts the Ohio AG's Office, there may be 20-3-0 others.  I don't know how many people have fallen for it," DeWine said.

Neva Nutgrass can't believe she is one of them.

"I thought I was so smart.  If it happens to me it could happen to anyone I think," Nutgrass said.

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