by Diane Tuazon
PERMIAN BASIN - The 'Grandparent Scam' has targeted senior citizens in more than a dozen states including right here in the Permian Basin. One victim NewsWest 9 spoke to said she was devastated when she realized the person she gave money too was a stranger.
"I picked up the telephone with out looking at the caller I. D. and he said 'I'm coming to see you,'" Vern, a local scam victim, said.
Vern didn't think picking up a phone call would lead to strangers taking money from her right at her doorstep.
"He kept talking to me, and when I finally looked outside he was right there, I handed the money to him, all $240 of it," Vern said.
$240 wiped straight out of her hands after Vern fell victim of what's called the 'Grandparent Scam.'
"What happens is they get a frantic call that says it's their relative in danger and needs money to get them out of trouble," Trish Powell with the Better Business Bureau, said.
Vern was led to believe her nephew was in dire need of some funds and would send a person over to pick up some money.
"He said this is your nephew Dennis and my truck broke down here in Stanton; I need $240 to pay for parts to fix it," Vern said.
She says the man on the phone sounded nothing like her nephew, and that's when she began to second guess herself.
"It crossed my mind, but I thought if it really is my nephew, well then I need to help him," Vern said.
Moments after, a stranger claiming to be a mechanic showed up at her door and left with the money Vern knew everything about the incident was a lie.
"It makes me sick. I live off my Social Security and many seniors do. $240 may not seem like a lot, but it is to me. I hope we can stop this, that's all I'd like to do," Vern said.
If you feel you've been a victim of the 'Grandparent Scam' you're asked to contact police and the Better Business Bureau to put in a report.