Marion Mazur says when her phone rang recently, she had no idea she was about to become a victim of a scam.
"I picked up the phone and I hear crying and someone saying, 'Grandma, this is Nicholas. I'm in jail and they won't let me out until I send $9,600,'" she remembers the voice saying.
Mazur thought the caller on the other end was her grandson, Nicholas Mazur, who goes by Nick. And, the thought of Nick behind bars disturbed her.
"I have never, ever heard anybody with a voice as close to Nick's as that one," she said.
“It sounded just like him?” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked her.
“Oh, a duplicate," she replied.
In reality, the caller was actually a scammer posing as Nick who told a fabricated story of being arrested out of state.
To help with his bail money, the 88-year-old grandmother was supposed to go to her bank, Bank of America, and withdraw $9,600 in cash. And she did.
"My first thought was I have to give him the money because what could they do to him?" she said.
Mazur says before placing the $9,600 in a FedEx envelope as she was instructed to do, she had to do something very unique with the cash. First, she was to put the money in between magazine pages. And, step two was to wrap the magazines with plastic wrap. This, of course, was to camouflage the cash so it would not be detected by inspectors.
"And, then I wrapped it in Saran wrap many, many times so it was very soft and mushy," she said.
Mazur says she sent the FedEx envelope secretly stuffed with cash, but it wouldn't be the last time.
The con-man called the very next day and instructed this senior citizen to go to the bank, get more money, and do it all again.
By the time she was done, she would have sent close to $17,000 cash. Remember, she thought she was helping bond her grandson out of jail.
“This is ridiculous,” she remembers thinking at the time. But I did it anyway because they got Nick,” she said.
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The real Nick, Nick Mazur, found out his loving grandmother had been swindled when he spoke to her recently on the phone.
“She said, ‘Nicholas have you talked to the judge yet? Are you out?’ Something to that effect. I said, ‘Grandma I don't know what you're talking about,’" Nick said.
The family, as you can imagine, is extremely upset. They can't believe someone so callous would rip off this sweet woman to the tune of $17,000 and they want to warn other senior citizens out there not to fall for what is commonly referred to as the “Grandparent Scam.”
“That's a lot of money to you isn't it Marion? Are you going to be alright,” Harper asked her.
“We hope we will be. We hope we will be. With the grace of God," she said.
A criminal report has been filed with the Phoenix Police Department. However, the agency tells 3 On Your Side the case needs to be investigated by the Baltimore Police Department which is the city where the cash was sent. The family is now in the process of filing a report with them, but it’s unknown if Baltimore police will investigate it.
And finally, 3 On Your Side alerted the U.S Postal Inspection Service and sent them all the documentation they will need to look into the issue.
If there’s an update, 3 On Your Side will let you know.
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