A Washington County grandmother says she was nearly duped into wiring money overseas in a bogus scam that seems to be plaguing the region.
Earlier last week, Marion County Sheriff’s officers warned residents there of a potential scam targeting the elderly. Local authorities say they’ve received scattered reports of scammers here.
A Springfield woman told The Sun she was nearly a victim of that scam.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she received a phone call about 9:30 a.m., Jan. 11, from a man who posed as her grandson.
“The person on the other line called me granny,” she said. “I said, ‘Who is this?’”
Although the woman said the voice didn’t sound familiar, the caller was persistent.
“My mistake was I called [my grandson’s] name,” she said. “They said, ‘Yes, this is me.”
The caller indicated his friend had been in a car wreck and remained in a coma in a Panama hospital. The caller said he had traveled to Central America to visit his friend, but was jailed by Panama authorities.
“He said, ‘I knew you were the only one who could help me. So please don’t tell my daddy.’”
A man posing as a military official then came on the line and gave instructions about wiring money and an additional phone number, she said.
He told the woman to go the nearest Walmart, where a customer service representative was able to stymy the scammers.
“I was a nervous wreck and actually believed I was smarter that this,” she said. “God bless the lady at Walmart. “She tried to call the numbers I was left. We could never get through.”
The woman said she eventually confronted the scammers on the phone and told them to not call again.
The woman’s warning to others: “Do not be deceived, they were really good. Talk to a family member first and never do what I was about to do.”