Palm Desert, Calif. - Rena Magged took a phone call from someone saying he was her grandson and he was in trouble. He said he was in a Mexican jail, arrested with drugs in his car.
"I didn't even think about anything. I said how can I just get him out of here," Magged said. "So they said we need $1900 in cash. And you can't tell anybody about it."
Magged's neighbor, Marilyn Karish, got a call from someone claiming to be her grandson who said he was in a car accident that landed him in court in Canada. He gave the phone to someone saying he was his lawyer who told her he needed cash to get her grandson home.
"And so what I need is $2100 in four envelopes," Karish was instructed to send the money taped inside of a magazine. "A total of $8400," she said.
Both women were ready to send the money. Karish feels lucky that her care taker was with her, and she said don't do it. Karish made calls to confirm it was a scam, and her grandson was ok. The whole ordeal took a lot out of her.
"It's your grand child. You get very emotional," Karish said. "And you want to do everything that you're told to do."
Magged went so far as to take $1900 dollars out of the bank, and she tried to send it through a drug store wire service. At the last minute, the clerk alerted her that the money could be going to anyone. She took a breath, kept her money, went home and made the calls to confirm her grandson was home safe all along. Then she got another call from the scammer asking where his money was, but this time she was ready.
"I had a few words I can't say on television for him," Magged said. "And I said if I ever met up with you, I'm going to hit you over the head with my cane. And I hung up."
Magged and the management at Segovia, where she lives, sent out an informational sheet about scams geared to seniors, and she called us to get the word out to never send money right away to someone who contacts you first.
"I don't want anybody to go through a scam like I did," Magged said.
The Federal Trade Commission recorded more than 40,000 incidents of grandparent scams from 2010 to 2013.
Information on ways to keep it from happening to you or your loved ones can be found here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0204-family-emergency-scams
You can report possible fraud by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP and here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1