Grandparents Targeted by Phone Scammers Asking for Money

WASHBURN, Iowa  --  It's a scam that many older Iowans have fallen for, but one grandmother wasn't going to let it get her.

The Washburn woman got a strange phone call this week from a man claiming to be her grandson, begging for money to get out of jail. KWWL's Taylor Bailey said the woman wasn't falling for the scam, but listened to the caller's story anyway.

"I answered the phone and this voice said 'grandma.'"

In a few seconds, Janet Beal knew the man on the other line was not her grandson, but decided to stay on the phone.

"And he says, 'I need your help,' and I said, 'which grandson are you?' And he says, 'your oldest,' and I asked him several times and he just kept saying 'I am your oldest,'" said Beal.

The man asked for over $2,800.

"He says, 'we were at a wedding and we drank too much and we got into an accident and I broke my nose, since I was driving the police arrested me and I am in a holding cell. I am going to see the judge in an hour and I need you to bail me out.'"

The caller told Beal he had a bad cold and a broken nose, which is why she wouldn't recognize his voice.

"My husband was over there listening and I was going, 'scam scam, sh sh.'"

Her husband also had a chance to talk to the scammer.

"He needed to be bailed out for nearly $2,800 and he needed it within the hour because he was going to go see the judge, so my husband just told him, well, you're SOL,'" said Beal.

She said this call could have been believable for some people, but she warns, "they might believe it, don't fall for it."

Beal asked the caller where and who he was multiple times, but would never get a direct answer. Even though the Beals had some fun with the scammer, authorities urge people to simply hang up the phone.