"Grandparent Scam" hits the Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

The people who are scamming these seniors have their stories down solid. They pretend to be desperate family members in bad situations and ask for thousands in cash. It didn't work on one elderly Fresno woman, but she wants you to know about her experience.

Helen Replogle got the call last weekend from a man pretending to be her grandson. "The voice said grandma. And I said, and I have a son named Nick and he's never called me grandma and I said, why are you calling me grandma Nick, you always call me Nana and so he kinda starts laughing."

That was the first clue something wasn't right.

Replogle said, "And then he said something like, I want to ask you something but will you promise that you will not tell my parents."

His request- 29 hundred dollars to be wired to him. The caller told her he was arrested and needed to post bail.

Vickie Sanders of the better business bureau says the story is all too familiar. She urges seniors to investigate the situation to find out if it's a hoax. "Call the parents. Say do you know where so and so is? Is Suzie ok? Is Joe still at school? Find out from the parents where the child is."

The Better Business Bureau also recommends seniors create a family pass-code or phrase that only relatives know. Call your grandchild directly and also be aware of any personal information you post on the internet.

Helen kept asking questions, like who to write her check out to and where to send the money. She purposely kept the scammer on the line probing further until finally he hung up. She hasn't heard from him since.

Better Business Bureau representatives say this scam usually comes in waves so they expect to hear from several other victims in the near future.

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