New twist on grandparent scam takes local man for thousands

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — A new twist on an old scam is hitting the CSRA.

It’s called the “Grandparent Scam.”

In it, the scammer calls an older person pretending to be their grandchild asking for money.

“I would say, nobody in the world will ever scam me,” North Augusta homeowner Bill Barton said.

Barton is wishing he could start the month of May over as earlier this month, he the scam got him for $4,000.

“I got a phone call early in the morning, drinking my coffee and reading the paper. The phone call said, ‘Hello, Papa. What are you doing?’ So in the back of my mind, I knew who it was,” Barton said.

Barton thought the caller was his grandson, Mark.

“I’m in trouble and please, whatever you do, don’t tell my mom or dad. I’ll be in a heap of trouble. Please don’t tell them,” Barton said.

The caller told Barton he had been arrested and needed $4,000 to get of jail.

Next, a supposed police officer gets on the phone and says the money needs to be sent through gift cards from Target.

“It seemed real crazy or weird. I was thinking, this is a scam, but I’m thinking, maybe, possibly, he’s got a gun to Mark’s head,” Barton said.

Barton went to Target, bought two, $2,000 gift cards and gave the card information to the caller.

“We need $4,000 more. I said, that’s it. I’m calling his Dad right now,” Barton said.

By then, the money on the gift cards was gone.

Barton realized he had been scammed.

“He called me by my right name, “Papa,” Barton said.

So now, the 76-year-old is warning others to think twice before trusting it’s a loved one on the other end of the line.

“Don’t ever take anything for granted. Ask questions, millions of questions,” Barton said.

Police say these scammers look at your social media posts to find out information about you.

If you think you receive one of these calls, you should try to call your grandchild’s actual phone number to verify if it was them.

As always, NEVER give out any financial information over the phone, including gift card numbers.

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