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Big Bend grandma scammed $10K, officers help get it back

A Waukesha County woman was close to losing $9,500 to scammers before Big Bend police officers stepped in.  


The grandparent scam is used frequently across the country.  Scammers target elderly grandparents and pretend to be a loved one in trouble. A scammer called an 80-year-old Big Bend woman claiming to be her grandson. He said he was being arrested for having drugs in his car and needed $9,500 right away. He asked the victim to send money in the mail and she did.


The Big Bend woman felt uneasy after she sent the money. After a quick call to family, the elderly woman realized she had been scammed. Sgt. Karen Dingman was on duty the night she called.


“She knew something wasn’t right. She called her son and he said you need to call police right away,” Sgt. Dingman said.


Luckily, Big Bend officers were able to pull the envelope from mailing to the address the scammer had given the victim, even after the money made it past state lines.


The BBB sees reports like these every day. President of the BBB Wisconsin Jim Temmer said they get about 20 reports of the grandparent scam across the country every day. He believes the numbers are probably much higher than that, but many people don’t report the scam because they feel embarrassed.


“It’s great she was able to get that money back and she didn’t lose it but, unfortunately this happens all over the country almost every day,” Temmer said.


Temmer believes there’s a reason the grandparent scam works.


“They play on their emotions,” Temmer said. “What grandparent wouldn’t want to help a grandson?”


Sgt. Dingman feels good knowing that they were able to help at least one victim. 


 “A lot of our job we deal with people at their worst. When we can do something positive for someone it just makes the officers feel great,” Sgt. Dingman said.


The BBB recommends asking questions that only a grandchild would know like the name of their pet. A red flag could be someone asking for cash or a wire transfer instead of asking for a credit card number.

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