3 On Your Side

Grandma scammed out of $13K in 'Grandparent Scam'

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Irma Orozco said she got a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Irma Orozco said she got a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
But, it wasn't Jack, her adult grandson. It was really a scammer pretending to be Jack. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) But, it wasn't Jack, her adult grandson. It was really a scammer pretending to be Jack. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Orozco ended up forking over $13,000 to the scammers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Orozco ended up forking over $13,000 to the scammers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Just remember the scammer will always say, “Don’t tell Mom and Dad.” That’s a guaranteed red flag that it’s a scam. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Just remember the scammer will always say, “Don’t tell Mom and Dad.” That’s a guaranteed red flag that it’s a scam. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Irma Orozco has a large family.

"This is my daughter Cindy and my son Peter,” Orozco says as she shows 3 On Your Side family pictures on her living room wall.

It’s a family she'd like to talk to more, but she knows they're busy and lead active lives.  

“You'd like to talk to them as much as you can, but they have busy lives?” Gary Harper asks.

“Yes, sometimes I feel like a bother,” she replies. “You know, I can't call them because they're busy."

So, when her phone rang recently, she was excited to hear a voice who she thought was her adult grandson named Jack on the other end.

"I got the phone and the person said, 'Hello.' And I said, 'Hello, hello?" And he said, 'This is Jack.' And I said, 'Hi Jack,'" said Orozco.

But, it wasn't Jack, her adult grandson. It was really a scammer pretending to be Jack and he had terrible news. 

"And I said, 'What happened?' And he said, 'I had a real bad accident. A real bad accident," she remembers the voice saying.

Orozco says the phone was then given to another guy claiming to be her grandson's attorney. And this guy said this grandmother needed to come up with bond money immediately.

"Bond money?” she asked at the time. “And I said, 'How much?' And he said, '$7,000 to start.'"

So, just like she was told to do, this loving grandmother picked up her purse, walked out her front door and headed to her bank to withdraw $7,000. She then deposited the money directly into the scammer's Bank of America account. Again, she was thinking it was for bond money.

The scammer later called Mrs. Orozco back and said he needed another $6,500.

Thinking her grandson was still in trouble, Mrs. Orozco went back to the bank and deposited another $6,500 into the scammer's account again.

After desperately calling her grandson all day, she says he finally called her back that evening.

When she inquired if his attorney received the money, he, of course, had no idea what she was talking about. That’s when the two of them both realized that the 74-year-old woman fell for what’s known as the "The Grandparent Scam." It’s been around for years and scammers use the scheme to prey on a grandparent’s love.

“What would you tell other grandparents out there?” Harper asked her.

"Just be careful,” she said. “They trick you so bad. They traumatize you. They traumatize you so bad that you lose your sense. I lose my sense."

If you get a call like this, it’s most likely a scam. The scammer posing as your grandchild will ask for money to pay for a car repair, pay a fine or in this case, to post bail.

Just remember the scammer will always say, “Don’t tell Mom and Dad.” That’s a guaranteed red flag that it’s a scam because they don’t want the victim to make phone calls and realize the truth.

3 On Your Side got a hold of Bank of America, where the scammer had an account. Bank of America claims to be investigating the issue, but said they were unable to reverse the deposit and get Mrs. Orozco’s money back.

3 On Your Side also requested that the scammer’s Bank of America account be closed due to fraud. However, the bank refused to give any further details on that matter.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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