A Warning from Grandma - WBAY

A Warning from Grandma

Brown County -

We have a warning for grandparents or anyone else who receives a strange phone call saying their loved one needs thousands of dollars fast.

It's called the "Grandparent Scam."

It's been around for several years, but in just the last two months at least three people in Brown County have been taken for more than $10,000. Two victims were in De Pere, and one in Bellevue.

Several police agencies say they've also received reports of multiple other -- but failed -- attempts.

Police say none of the money can be recovered.

"It's just unbelievable. They call them scam artists, and they sure are," says Laverne Lardinois.

The Bellevue grandmother simply shakes her head in disgust, frustrated she's now a victim.

"I didn't even think about the money I lost. I was so devastated, because I was scammed," says Lardinois.

One Tuesday morning last month, her cell phone rang. She thought it was her grandson.

"It sounded just like him, and so I talked to him for a little while," says Lardinois.

He told her he was on his way home from a concert in Canada when police stopped him for speeding and found drugs in his rental car. He needed money right away.

"It all sounded legit. The officer sounded legit," she says.

She didn't think twice, and over two days she wired $3,800 to an account that was actually in the Philippines.

By the time she realized her grandson was never in Canada, it was too late.

"Unfortunately, there's a lot more happening," says De Pere Police Officer Jedd Bradley.

Local police are seeing similar cases targeting seniors, the most trusting population.

Wednesday, a woman told De Pere police she wired $6,000 to Mexico. She was told a drug cartel would hurt her grandson if she didn't send money.

After the latest incident, the De Pere Police Department began immediately contacting all assisted living and apartment complexes where seniors live in the city, trying to warn them about what's happening.

"If you get a phone call like this, challenge the person. There are certain things only your loved ones or your family knows about you and you know about them. Ask them that question," says Bradley.

Police say the scammers use the Internet to find personal details, and once they have your money it's as good as gone.

It's why Lardinois is sharing this message for other grandparents.

"If they get a call, even if they think it's their person they love, just think twice about it," says Lardinois.

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