Phone scam targets grandmother for 'bail money'

Published: Feb. 28, 2014 at 7:56 PM EST
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MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Police say a Mt. Pleasant woman nearly fell victim to a phone scam after receiving a call from someone claiming to be her grandson in need of $4,000 for bail money.

According to an incident report, the victim received a call Thursday morning from a male who identified himself as her grandson, and gave one of her grandson's names. The scam artist said he was in jail in Las Vegas and was getting beaten up by inmates.

The victim told police a female then took the phone and identified herself as "her grandsons" attorney, and that the victim needed to send $4,000 in order to pay for legal services and bail. The female suspect told the grandmother to wire transfer the money or get Green Dot cards from Wal-Mart, and that if the money was not paid within two hours she would not help "her grandson" and he would probably be assaulted again.

Mt. Pleasant police say the victim withdrew $4,000 from her bank and went to Walmart to purchase Green Dot cards from the Money Center. The employee, who could tell the victim was upset, asked what the money was for and then advised her to go to the police before sending the money.

An incident report states police called the victim's grandson's college, and discovered he was safe. Additionally, an internet check of the number the scam was made from revealed a long history of fraudulent activity.

Authorities called Walmart to thank the Money Center employee for her assistance, and notified their Investigation Department of the scam.

Investigators warned that this type of scam has been going on for several years.

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