CFA Alert: Man targeted by 'grandparent scam' loses thousands

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - We have a warning about a scam targeting the elderly that's making the rounds again. It's called the grandparent scam. That's because the crooks are posing as grandchildren in desperate need of money.

Man loses thousands of dollars because of 'grandparent scam.'

This is one of the most frustrating crimes we tell you about. One local man, a veteran who doesn't want us to use his name, is now out thousands of dollars for just trying to help his grandson -- or so he thought.

"This guy sounded just like my grandson," the 84-year-old veteran told 11 News reporter Katie Pelton.

It started with a phone call.

"I took the phone and he said, 'Grandpa I had an accident,'" he said. "'I'm not hurt, everybody's OK, but I damaged the car. And I need to borrow $4,000.'"

The veteran told 11 News he has grandsons who live nearby, so it's not unusual to get a call from them. It was hard to resist his grandson's plea.

"It was almost like I was hypnotized. Every time I asked something, he had an answer."

“Each time he’d call back, I’d ask him something or another. I said ‘I talked to your dad’ and he said ‘What’d he say, what’d he say?' He got all upset. I said 'Nothing, I didn’t tell him what happened.'”

“Another time I asked him, ‘What’s your mother’s birthday?’ He said ‘I’m on the private phone, I can’t say that.’ I should’ve known right then," the man told 11 News.

He says his wife bought $4,000 worth of Walmart gift cards for their grandson. The problem: that's not who they were for.

"I scratched it off and gave him the numbers," he said. "My daughter came in afterwards and said 'You just got burned, Dad. That was a scam.'"

Thankfully, Walmart was able to refund some of the money, but he is still out nearly $3,000.

We've told you about this scam before in other 11 Call for Action investigations.

Now the veteran and his family have a password when talking on the phone. It's a secret code that all of them know. If the caller doesn't know it, they hang up. It's something we should all do.

That man also said Walmart told him another man was recently scammed of $3,000.

This story came in as a news tip to our newsroom. If you have a story idea, give us a call at 719-578-0000.

The veteran has a message for the crooks.

"What goes around comes around."