3OYS: Mesa senior warns of 'Grandparent Scam'

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- John Mourning is living the golden years and enjoying every minute of it.

He worked all his life, with most of it spent in the United States Air Force.

"Twenty-nine years and 11 months," he said proudly of his time spent in the service.

With nearly 30 years of military service, you could say the retired colonel knows a thing or two.

But Mourning said he almost let his guard down recently after receiving a surprising phone call.

"When I answered the phone, the first thing the caller said was, 'Hi Grandpa,' " Mourning recalled.

How nice, Mourning thought, to be getting a phone call from his grandson, whom he doesn't hear from too often. It brought a smile to his face.

However, Mourning said the conversation immediately took an alarming twist.

"I just said, 'Is it Kevin?' and he said, 'Yes and I have a problem,' and then he went into his routine," Mourning explained.

That routine turned out to be a very clever scam aimed at stealing money from this senior citizen.

Mourning said his "grandson" claimed he was picked up by Mexican police while traveling in Cancun and thrown in jail. He needed grandpa to wire him $1,200 for bail.

"I said, 'Kevin, you have to call your dad,' and he said, 'I don't want anybody to know until I get it all resolved,' " Mourning said.

For a moment, Mourning wanted to wire that money to help Kevin, but he felt something wasn't right when his "grandson" told him not to tell anyone.

When Mourning said he was going to contact his grandson's father, the caller hung up. It's a good thing because when Mourning checked the story out with his son, he realized it was all a scheme.

"My son called me back and said it's a scam. He said Kevin is ... in Massachusetts where he's supposed to be," Mourning said.

Mourning and his wife had a good laugh because their grandson was never in jail at all, but the thought of that caller trying to scam other senior citizens worries him.

"When they target elderly people, you do feel that they are taking advantage of people who are very likely to be in a poor position to lose that kind of money," Mourning said.

This scam, sometimes referred to as the "Grandparent Scam," has been around for years.

The Federal Trade Commission has even issued a warning telling people not to fall victim to it.