It all starts with a phone call from an unknown number.
The voice on the other end of the line says he's your grandson.
He's in jail and he's scared. He screwed up and he's sorry. He just needs $2000 to get out.
Lubbock resident Nick Parker fell victim to "grandson scam" last week. Now he wants to tell his story to warn others, and Lubbock Police say they've responded to four reports of similar incidents in the last month.
Police say these scammers are pulling at the heart strings of the elderly. Parker said that's what they did to him.
"He said can you keep this between us and I said I'll try. That was the mistake," said Parker.
In this case, Parker's "grandson" said he was in jail in San Diego, California for aggravated assault and he was terrified because he wasn't supposed to be there. In fact, Parker knew his 15-year-old grandson was cave diving in Tennessee, however he was unable to reach him because of that. The person pretending to be his grandson knew all of that. Police say that is common.
"A lot of this stuff can be obtained from the Internet. Often times from people's Facebook pages," said Sgt. Jonathan Stewart, Lubbock Police Department.
The "grandson" then went on telling Parker he could get him out of the mess if he paid the price. Someone pretending to be his lawyer called five minutes later.
"The judge insists that he say he pay for the hospital bill and ambulance service," said Parker.
Parker then rushed to western union and transferred $2,021 to the lawyers assistant, as told to do. When the money transfer was picked up, the person on the other line called again. He wanted more money. That's when Parker started asking questions.
"It finally dawned something doesn't sound right, something was fishy. I said what is your address? And he hung up," said Parker.
At this point the scammers had what they wanted. Parker felt used, but happy the story was untrue.
"It's a relief that I know where my grandson is supposed to be and he wasn't at risk. The other stuff is just money," said Parker.
Police say the scammer's phones are usually untraceable. In this case, there were no surveillance cameras to catch the criminals. Most of the time, police say the money is unrecoverable.
Going forward, Parker says he and his family will now use a code word in case anything like this happens again.
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