Woman loses thousands of dollars to 'grandparent scam'

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Most grandparents would do just about anything to help a grandchild. It's that unconditional love that scammers bank on to take your money.

Gerry Davis lost thousands of dollars to scammers who claimed to be her grandson in trouble.

One woman was recently tricked by a criminal posing as her grandson, and she ended up losing thousands of dollars to the scam.

Gerry Davis remembers every word and even the cadence in the caller's voice, which probably helps to explain why she believed it was her grandson, a freshman in college.

"He said, 'Hello, Gram. I'm in trouble, I'm in trouble,'" said Gerry Davis. "I said tell me about it. Let's just think this thing out."

The impostor knew to call her "Gram." He said he had been pulled over by police, arrested and jailed. All that triggered a flood of emotions and prompted Davis to act on all the callers' instructions.

"I said well don't worry and he said, 'But they found drugs in the car,'" said Davis. "I said well that wasn't so good, but he said, 'I am totally clear.'"

The phone scammer told her to go to Home Depot and purchase prepaid money cards and call them back with the numbers on the back of the cards. Davis says Home Depot smelled a fraud and tried to dissuade her.

"They said Mrs. D, this is a scam," said Davis. "But I said I heard my grandson, and I don't want anything to happen to him. Just give me the cards. Home Depot kept saying it's a scam, it's a scam."

Those crooks got several grand from Davis, but they still wanted more.

"Then I got another call and they said, 'Everything is fine, your grandson is being taken back to college,'" said Davis. "And then the scammer said, 'But the lawyer wants a bit more.'"

This time, Davis was sent to Target to purchase more prepaid cards. Two managers at Target convinced her that she was the victim of a fraudulent and elaborate scheme.

"They said, 'No, Mrs. Davis, this is a scam.' I said don't tell me it's a scam, but they said, 'Yes, yes,'" said Davis. "My regret is that I wasn't savvy enough at a quarter of 8 in the morning to hang up on them. Because I should have hung up."

Gerry Davis did, unfortunately, end up losing a large chunk of her savings to these crooks, but she says she's thankful that her grandson is okay.

She's also writing a letter to Target to thank the managers who saved her from losing even more money.

A good reminder is to be careful what personal information you post on social media and to always be skeptical of strangers asking for money over the phone.