St. Louis Grandmother Taken for $250,000 in Phone Scam

The old "Your grandchild is in a foreign prison and we need money" trick


A scam artist called an elderly Chesterfield woman and convinced her that her grandson was locked up in a Peruvian prison. Over several weeks, and with each phone call, she sent money.

In all, police say, she wired more than $250,000 of her savings overseas to bail him out and hire legal counsel for him.

Problem was, her grandson was nowhere near a prison in Peru. And her money, police say, is now gone.

The scam artists, police say, spent weeks cultivating their lie with repeated phone calls. They said the grandson has been in a fight and that he was the aggressor. In one call, she thought she was talking to her grandson. Each time, they needed more money for the legal process. The calls started in the middle of August, including one call from a man claiming to be a U.S. embassy official.

(Hat tip to Mark Sletten)