Grandma Scam Targeting Elderly Grandparents

Canadian man arrested on fraud charges

By Consumer Bob
|  Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012  |  Updated 4:14 PM PDT
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Grandma Scam Targeting Elderly Grandparents

Stephanie Cabrera

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It is a nightmare for any grandparent, a call from a granddaughter pleading for help. 

But that's what happened when Betty Workman picked up the phone.The young woman on the other end of the phone line said she was Betty's granddaughter and was in trouble. 

Betty says she was told that her granddaughter was involved in a minor drunk driving accident in Canada and needed money to get out of jail.

"I mean I was weeping and crying," said Workman, "because I was sure it was her."

Betty sent $3,000 dollars to Canada through Western Union. But apparently that wasn't enough.  She she got home she had a message, now her granddaughter need $20,000. Betty didn't have the money so she agreed to send $2,000. 

Fortunately for Betty, Western Union thought something was fishy and refused to send Betty Workman's money. Shortly after that, Betty called her daughter and found out her granddaughter was at home in San Diego, that the phone call was all part of an elaborate scam.

Today, Pascal Goyer, who was last known to live in Montreal, Canada, is behind bars in Los Angeles.  The F.B.I. along with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police says 29-year-old Goyer was involved in a scheme to defraud grandparents in Southern California. 

He was allegedly operating a boiler room in Montreal where victims were convinced their grandchildren were in danger in a foreign country.

"This one is horrible," said Sheryl Bilbrey with the Better Business Bureau, "because they're taking advantage of the elderly."  Bilbrey says grandparents have been fooled into sending away thousands of dollars.  Bilbrey says in many cases scam artists have been able to solicit personal information from grandparents in their first phone call, but she says those scammers also use social media.

"Grandma is on Facebook and so they actually have the names when they are calling," said Bilbrey.

Betty Workman says she wants to warn other seniors so they don't become victims, as for people who would use emotions to trick the elderly out of their money:  "I think they are more than greedy, they are evil."

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