Buhl Woman Sent $2,000 to Mexico in 'Grandparent' Scam
TWIN FALLS, Dec 10, 2012 (The Times-News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
"I was in grandma-panic mode."
That's how Sue Harr said she reacted when she got a frantic phone call from a woman claiming to be her granddaughter.
The young woman said she was in Mexico and a person she was driving with got caught with marijuana in his car. Now she was in jail and needed money to get out.
"They work at this because I swear I talked to my granddaughter," she said. "She was kind of crying and it sounded just like her."
Then the woman put a man on the phone, who told Harr he was from the American embassy and explained exactly where in Buhl she should go to wire the money.
"He sounded really legit," Harr said. "He said she was in the car with the drugs but my colleagues checked her and she was negative for drugs."
He also told her that once she was found innocent her bond money would be refunded. Then, he said they'd call back in 30 minutes when the wired money came through.
"He didn't call me back," Harr said. "I was just a basket case, I was really upset."
Harr said she had a friend whose son actually was stuck in a foreign prison and the family spent years getting him back to the U.S.
"So I was thinking the worst," she said. "I was hooked. I didn't want anything to happen to her."
Finally, against her supposed granddaughter's wishes, Harr said she called her son.
"I said 'What time is Chris supposed to be back on the plane '" Harr said. "He said 'What plane '"
When detectives from the Buhl Police Department arrived, Harr said they told her there was little hope she'd ever see her money again.
A subpoena that could take three weeks to be returned is needed to find out where the money was picked up, she said. By that time the scammers and Harr's $2,000 would be long gone.
When she tried to find the number who called her, Harr said she discovered it was blocked.
"I know I'm not going to getany money back but I don't want anybody else to go through the hell I went through," she said.
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