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Green Country Couple Lose $5,000 To 'Grandparent Scam'

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Mike and Christine had a phone call recently that sent them racing around all over town in a panic. They had lost $5,000 before the ordeal was over. Mike and Christine had a phone call recently that sent them racing around all over town in a panic. They had lost $5,000 before the ordeal was over.
The relative in need warning from the Consumer Protection Agency. The relative in need warning from the Consumer Protection Agency.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The "grandparent scam" is making the rounds in Green Country again. Two different victims were each taken for $5,000 recently.

The scam goes like this: someone calls, claiming to be your grandchild, and says they've been arrested and they need money to get out.

This has been around for years, but it still works for two reasons: the scammers are so convincing and grandparents will do whatever it takes to help a grandchild in need.

Mike and Christine had a phone call recently that sent them racing around all over town in a panic.

"She said, 'Hello,' and the person on the other end said, 'Grandma.' She said, 'Randy?' And he said, 'Yes,'" Mike explained.

Christine hadn't talked to him in years, because he lives out of state. He told her he'd gone to a wedding in Cleveland, drank too much, hit a telephone pole in his rental car and had been arrested.

11/16/2012 Related Story: Scammer Uses Facebook Information To Scam Grandmother Out Of $2,000

He begged her not to tell anyone and gave her a number for the public defender.

"I just got real upset, hysterical," Christine said. "I was ready to get out there and do whatever it took, if it took my last nickel."

They called the lawyer, who said he could get Randy out of jail and settle the charges for $2,800. They were to send it through MoneyGram at Walmart, which they did, and waited for the call.

The lawyer told them Randy was out and the charges gone, but now the rental company was pressing charges for the damage. He said he could get them to settle for the price of the deductible, $2,500.

"I actually said, 'I'm done. I'm not going to do this,'" Mike said.

"I was crying and saying, 'Mike help me,'" Christine said.

"He said, 'This is more serious than the damage to public property. They could put him in jail for two to three years,'" Mike said.

They got more cash and went to another Walmart to send a second MoneyGram.

The folks at both Walmart and MoneyGram tried to warn them it was a scam, but the so-called lawyer had prepared them for that.

"'They're going to tell you be careful of scams, try to get you not to send this money. They might even block it,'" Mike said.

In fact, MoneyGram did block it, but the lawyer convinced them to try again at a third Walmart, which they did.

10/6/2010 Related Story: 'Grandparent Scam' Robs Rogers County Couple

After that, Randy got on the phone and asked for more money.

That's when Mike decided he'd had enough, so they tracked down a family member, who confirmed the real Randy was at home and they knew they'd never see their $5,000 again.

"We did it for love and all that. That's why they get people captured the way they do. You get caught up in a moment of distress," Christine said.

The Osage County Sheriff's office said a man in Hominy also lost $5,000 to this same scam recently.

Mike and Christine filed a police report, but realize the scammers will probably never get caught, so they just hope others will learn from their experience.

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