MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The National Council on Aging calls financial scams focused on seniors the crime of the 21st century.
For one Bartlett man, a good story and concern for his grandson led to him being scammed out of nearly $16,000.
It all began with a strange phone call back in late June from someone claiming to be his grandson.
"I said that doesn't sound like him, and he said, 'I've got a broken nose and a stitched up lip because I was in an accident, Pa-Pa,' and so when he said Pa-Pa, that got to me," scam victim Robert Belcher said.
Pa-Pa is exactly what his real grandson calls him.
The story goes that his grandson had been in an accident, was thrown in jail for DUI, and he needed him to call his public defender. It all seemed legit when his alleged attorney got on the phone.
"'Foster is very ashamed what has happened. He doesn't want the family to know, and he doesn't want the military to know.' Well, right off the bat, I said, they even know he was in the military," Belcher said.
Then that's when he started asking for cash.
First, he sent $3,800 for bail, and then $3,500 for a DUI fine.
"They had this thing planned out so beautifully," Belcher said.
A court settlement, a totaled rental car, and the alleged loss of an unborn child from the other person in the accident, all adding up to nearly $16,000.
"I love my grandson so much that common sense went out the window," Belcher said.
It was last Friday he finally got a call from his real grandson that he realized he had been scammed.
He reported the scam to Bartlett Police Department, but there was little they could do.
The address he was sending the checks to was an abandoned house in New Jersey, and the phone number he was given was untraceable.
"When somebody calls you, know who's on the other end of the line," Belcher advised.
Belcher also advises that whenever someone you don't know starts asking for money, that's when you need to start doing your research.