“One morning I answered the phone, and this young fella said 'hi Grandma.’”
Wanda Wood said a voice sounded like her grandson. He said he needed help and money immediately.
“I really and truly believed it was Matt. The kid sounded like Matt,” says Wood.
Postal inspectors say Wanda is one of thousands of Americans who have been victims of the so-called grandparent scheme.
There are countless variations on the stories told.
Here is another.
“Somebody had called her in the middle of the night saying her grandson had been in an accident and was injured and she needed to wire money immediately to help him out,” says Ann Kriedt, a US Postal Inspector.
She was asked to send $5,000.
“Somebody claiming to be her grandson actually got on the phone crying and told her to help him and send him money as quickly as he could,” says Kriedt.
She sent the money in an express mail package. Inspectors say days later this victim learned her grandson was fine and she had been scammed.
“If you get a call in the middle of the night, call your son or daughter and say where is so and so, are they ok I just got this call,” says Kriedt.
Jerome Mills was arrested in connection with the second case in this report. He was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy and sentenced to three years in federal prison.