LAS VEGAS - A local couple lost almost $9,000 in one of the oldest phone scams in the country, and they're not alone. Seniors are falling for this scam despite numerous warnings from authorities.
When 82-year-old Wilma Pennington thought her grandson Adam was in trouble in Mexico, she helped.
"He really needed help, otherwise he would be in prison for two months," Pennington says she believed.
She was given specific instructions on what to do. The person claiming to be Adam told Wilma not to call his parents and wire money in three payments to Guadalajara.
The caller even told her which Western Union to use to wire the money. She sent $8,350 and called Adam's cell phone - hoping to hear from him when he got out of jail. He called the next day.
"He called and said, ‘Hi grandma and grandpa. How are you doing?' We said, ‘Fine, where are you?' He said in Colorado, and we knew we had been taken," Pennington said.
Wilma says she had never heard of this scam that cost her a lot more than money. "It was like a week in hell," she said.
The FBI started issuing warnings about this scam in 2008, but seniors are still falling victim to it - losing thousands of dollars every day.
Wilma says it works, because it tugs at heart strings. "Grandparents love their grandchildren," she said.
Western Union issues fraud warnings on all their paperwork, which Wilma admits she received. They also train staff to look out for these types of occurrences and are looking into how staff is trained in our area.
If you have a consumer complaint or scam you want investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 650-1907 or email us.