POSTED: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 5:35pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 12:55pm
EL PASO/LAS CRUCES - It starts with a call, and before you know it your money is gone and you're left trying to figure out how to get it back.
Barbara Eaton answered the phone, and the caller said "Grandma!"
"And I said 'Joel?' and he said 'Yea!' and I said, 'Oh, Joel, i'm so glad to hear from you, oh what a pleasant surprise,' and he said, 'Grandma I'm in trouble.'"
The person claiming to be her grandson Joel said he needed help.
"He said, 'You can't tell anybody this, but I need you to send me some money to get home.' I said, 'Okay, I'll go to the bank right away, I'll take care of it right away, I'm leaving right now.'"
Luckily she didn't, instead she called her son, and told him what his nephew "Joel" had said.
"So I called my brother, and asked him where his boy was. He said, 'He's downstairs asleep,'" William Mudd said.
Barbara Eaton almost fell for the grandparent scam. A popular way of stealing money from elderly folks by tugging at their heart strings. And while Barbara Eaton lucked out, a family friend from El Paso didn't.
"It's terrible. He's in his 70's, they have very limited income, and he thought my son was in trouble, my son William, and he sent all that money. He sent over $900 dollars three different times," she said.
And according to the Better Business Bureau, it doesn't look like he's getting that money back.
"Unfortunately, it seems chances are pretty slim. With legitimate businesses we can file lawsuits or talk to them, but when it's scammers half the time they're not even in the country," Annabelle Estrada said
"They're slick, they're slick, real slick," Eaton said.
The BBB says if you get one of these calls check with your family, and never send money to someone you're not sure about.