ELK CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – A resurgent scam targets Oklahoma seniors, but one Elk City grandmother is hoping her story spreads.
Peggy Beck has reason to be proud, with three generations following her lead.
“I love all my grandkids and great-grandkids,” she said. “There’s not a thing in the world I wouldn’t do for any of them.”
Her love was on display a couple weeks back when Peggy got an unknown caller.
“This voice said ‘Grandma.’ He said, ‘I’m in so much trouble,'” she explained. “He said, ‘I need some help, but promise me, promise me, promise me you won’t tell anybody.'”
Peggy asked if it was her great-grandson Garren on the phone. The stranger said yes and told his story.
“[He] said, ‘I came up to Wisconsin with a couple of friends to take a U-Haul truck home, and we were drinking a little bit of beer, and I had a wreck and ran into a post. They got me for DUI,'” said Peggy. “Then the lawyer got on the phone, filling me in on what happened, and that he needed some money to get him out of jail.”
Peggy wasted little time pulling out large sums of cash to be sent through the mail to New York.
She made two payments in all, totaling $20,000.
“He told me exactly how to wrap it, to put it between two magazines in a manila envelope,” said Peggy.
For three days, phone calls poured in before family caught on and put a stop to it.
Peggy had been taken by a resurgent ruse, the ‘grandparent scam’, and she’s not alone.
Sheryl Presley and Susan Kennedy lead the TRIAD group with Oklahoma City Police. Their goal is to help seniors navigate these very tough situations.
“It’s been around for a long long time,” said Sheryl. “A lot of time these scams will resurface with a twist.”
“They’re relying on their compassion, obviously they want to take care of their family member,” added Susan. “If you do become a victim of a scam like this, you need to report it.”
Peggy is urging anyone who gets a similar call, to make sure they double and triple check who’s on the other end of the line. It never hurts to have personal questions ready.
Oklahoma City Police recommend families come up with a code word that only close family members would know.
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