Buhl Woman Sent $2,000 to Mexico in 'Grandparent' Scam

The Buhl woman wants others to learn from her mistake.
2012-12-10T02:05:00Z 2014-11-04T16:48:30Z Buhl Woman Sent $2,000 to Mexico in 'Grandparent' ScamBy Alison Gene Smith - alismith@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

TWIN FALLS • “I was in grandma-panic mode.”

That’s how Sue Harr said she reacted when she got a frantic phone call from a woman claiming to be her granddaughter.

The young woman said she was in Mexico and a person she was driving with got caught with marijuana in his car. Now she was in jail and needed money to get out.

“They work at this because I swear I talked to my granddaughter,” she said. “She was kind of crying and it sounded just like her.”

Then the woman put a man on the phone, who told Harr he was from the American embassy and explained exactly where in Buhl she should go to wire the money.

“He sounded really legit,” Harr said. “He said she was in the car with the drugs but my colleagues checked her and she was negative for drugs.”

He also told her that once she was found innocent her bond money would be refunded. Then, he said they’d call back in 30 minutes when the wired money came through.

“He didn’t call me back,” Harr said. “I was just a basket case, I was really upset.”

Harr said she had a friend whose son actually was stuck in a foreign prison and the family spent years getting him back to the U.S.

“So I was thinking the worst,” she said. “I was hooked. I didn’t want anything to happen to her.”

Finally, against her supposed granddaughter’s wishes, Harr said she called her son.

“I said ‘What time is Chris supposed to be back on the plane?’” Harr said. “He said ‘What plane?’”

When detectives from the Buhl Police Department arrived, Harr said they told her there was little hope she’d ever see her money again.

A subpoena that could take three weeks to be returned is needed to find out where the money was picked up, she said. By that time the scammers and Harr’s $2,000 would be long gone.

When she tried to find the number who called her, Harr said she discovered it was blocked.

“I know I’m not going to getany money back but I don’t want anybody else to go through the hell I went through,” she said.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. cstkakma
    Report Abuse
    cstkakma - December 09, 2012 11:24 pm
    No, this is a real scam, it has been going on for atleast 2 years that I know of. Seniors, especially in Independent and Assisted Living centers were targeted 2 years ago. The caller will not tell you their name, they simply say, this is your favorite grandson/granddaughter until the person they are calling gives a name and then they use it. The police have been notified and were unable to track where the money went. Last time the address they got was an empty street corner in New York. They called the NY police to go to the address and check it out and there was not even a building there, just an empty lot. These people know what they are doing. PLEASE tell anyone you know not to fall for this. A lady I know got scammed for $8000.00 she thought her grandson had been in an accident in a rental car in canada and hit a deer and had to pay for the car and the animal and bail as well as an airline ticket. These people know how to work the elderly and really scare and convince them. VERY SAD........
  2. Hawk's view
    Report Abuse
    Hawk's view - December 09, 2012 8:51 am
    I would be looking really seriously at the grand-daughter and her boyfriend. If it 'sounded just like her' it probably was.

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