Her grandson was in trouble.
It started when Gayla Reid got a phone call.
The voice said "Hi, Grandma" and she said "Hello Brody."
Brody was her only grandson. Brody was scared. He was in jail in Red Rock, Canada and had been there all night. He said he was in Canada for a funeral and that night went out with some stupid friends of his and got arrested because they had drugs in their car. He begged her not to tell anyone, and he said he’d explain the whole thing to his parents when he got back.
He told her a policeman would call in ten minutes with all the details.
In ten minutes, a policeman with a Canadian accent called. The officer said it was complicated to raise bail for her grandson because the situation crossed international borders, so they would have to use an international bail bondsman. He said one company in London and another in Australia might work. He put her on hold for a minute and then returned.
He said the bail bondsman in Australia would take care of it and they needed $5,600.
Mrs. Reid wasn’t stupid. She thought something didn’t sound right, and asked the officer if this was some kind of scam. But he reassured her. He gave her his badge number and his supervisor’s phone number and told her to call his supervisor to verify.
Mrs. Reid was going to call her grandson directly on his cell phone, but the officer said they had taken his cell phone away.
Her husband went to the bank to withdraw the money. But before they sent it, Mrs. Reid went online and searched for the Canadian police department. The phone number the officer gave her didn’t match.
Then she saw a news article about a "Granny Scam."
It explained how con artists call grandmothers and pretend to be their grandchildren, then scam them out of money because the kids are in some kind of trouble.
And the trouble can only be solved by wiring money.
The victims think they would never be stupid enough to get scammed, but as Mrs. Reid said:
"When your grandson is involved your heartstrings and your heart gets involved."
After her husband got back home, she told him to redeposit the money.
Then she called her grandson.
He was sitting safely at home on his couch in Albuquerque.
Phone scam preys on a Grandma’s love, KRQE News 13, Albuquerque>>
Emergency or "Grandparent" Scam, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre>>