Consumer alert: Senior Scam

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A consumer alert for some of our senior citizens out there.  This is an unbelievable scam.

It's certainly not new, but it continues to make its rounds in the senior community, where people tend to be a lot more trusting and caring.

Helen Morrison has a large family and is very close to her grandchildren.

And it was one of her granddaughters, Melanie, who reportedly called Helen last summer.

“It was last August that I got a call, and the girl said 'grandma'?!" Helen recalled.

Helen says Melanie claimed to be in a pinch and needed some help.  

"And she went on to tell me a sad story about how she had gone on a mini-vacation with her girlfriends and she was in La Paz, Mexico," said Helen.

Helen says the story grew worse when her daughter claimed to be in a Mexican jail and needed money to get out.

"She told me at first that she needed like $2,800," Helen said.

Being a good grandmother, Helen wired the money, but then the phone calls looking for more money kept coming.   

"She needed $5,600," said Helen.

So, once again Helen wired money, this time $5,600 for a total of $8,600.

"And you hear about someone being in a Mexican jail, you want your granddaughter in a Mexican jail?" asked Helen.

Helen later discovered that her granddaughter was never in jail much less in Mexico, and that the person on the other end of that line all those times was a scammer who conned her out of all that money.

Helen says she was humiliated and chalked it up as a lesson, that is, until recently, when her phone started ringing again and it was the same girl on the other end with the same sob story.

“This time I knew exactly who I had and I couldn't believe she had called back again," said Helen.

Helen couldn't believe it and now wants 3 On Your Side to tell other seniors not to fall for this scam.

“I said if I can help one person, if I can save one person, it's worth it," noted Helen.

I'd like to personally thank Helen for sharing her story.  Many times victims are embarrassed or don't want relatives to find out what they.

But in this case, Helen is being proactive by letting others out there not to fall for this.