'Grandson' scams elderly woman out of $2,600

Updated: Jun. 20, 2017 at 5:49 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An 86-year-old woman is firing back after a con-artist scammed her out of more than $2,600, claiming to be her grandson.

"I'd have a few choice words for [the scammer] because he is no good. He's rotten to the core," said Norma Richardson, of the stranger who took advantage of her.

Norma received a call last week from someone claiming to be her grandson, a college student. The "grandson" said he'd been in a car accident and charged with a DUI. He said he needed thousands of dollars to get out of jail.

"He wanted all cash... because that's the way he said he'd have to pay the jail," described Norma of the careful instructions given to her by her "grandson."

Norma quickly wired $2,649, hours later. Unfortunately, she soon realized the entire charade was a scam.

Norma says the con artist had an answer for everything when she spoke with him, even why he had not called her by the nickname used by all her grandchildren, Memaw.

"All I could think about was that he said his lip was bleeding…I figured that's why I couldn't recognize his voice. [The scammer] had all bases covered, if you know what I mean," continued Norma.

The "grandson" told Norma he didn't want her to contact any other family members, since he said he wanted to tell them of the situation himself.

It's a very convincing story, frequently used by scammers targeting seniors, according to Central Virginia Better Business Bureau CEO Tom Gallagher.

"[Scammers] are checking Facebook all the time. They can see little special names... 'poppie,' 'pop pop,' or whatever it might be," explained Gallagher. "Remember, these [con artists] are smart. They're very, very good at doing this."

After Norma realized she'd been taken, her daughter reached the scammer by phone - one he's likely already thrown away.

"He talked filthy to her. He told her that he had gotten some of her mother's money and he was going to get some more if he could."

Gallagher urges you to talk with your senior loved ones about recognizing a scam, and what to do if they suspect anything out of the ordinary.

Norma says she's just thankful her grandson wasn't injured after all.

"The money of course hurt, but not as much as if he'd been hurt."

Norma filed a police report. However, officials say it's often difficult to recover money lost in a scam like this one.

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