Grandmother taken by con artists
CENTRAL - A grandmother is out thousands of dollars after she was tricked into thinking she was helping her grandson, but was actually opening her purse to thieves.
Gaynell Whiting said she got a strange call last week that her grandson was in trouble. She said the voice was similar to her grandson's, but it was slightly off. Even though she was hesitant about who she was talking to, she bought into the story that he was in trouble and wired the person on the line money.
"That's your heart, your grandchildren are," she said in an interview with WBRZ reporter Brett Buffington for WBRZ News 2 at 10:00 Tuesday.
"Everyone I told this story to, they've said they would have done the same thing."
The caller, acting like her grandson, said he was was arrested for DWI in Houston and needed the money to hire an attorney to resolve the situation. Whiting said the person on the phone called her "Maw Maw," just like her grandson.
A second phone call, from someone claiming to be the attorney, was all it took to swindle Whiting out of $13,000. It didn't take much longer for her to realize she was scammed.
When she talked to her grandson about the situation, he said "'I haven't been to Houston,'" Whiting recalled. Apparently, her grandson had been in Texas with family and was not in trouble.
Whiting, 74, said the money that was stolen was going to be used to pay medical bills for her ailing husband.
"I took care of a mother with Alzheimer's for ten years. Before my mother passed away, I knew my husband was coming down with it. At this point in time, he doesn't know who the grandchildren are, and when I ask him who I am, he doesn't just say my name, he says 'my darlin.'"
Whiting said she felt compelled to share her story, hoping others won't fall victim.
"Please, please, please, never send cash. It doesn't matter what the story is, never send cash."
Whiting believes the crooks, whoever they are, got her information from Facebook.