SLO woman loses life savings to grandparent scam

May 17, 2013

GrandparentScamA San Luis Obipso woman lost her life savings — more than $75,000 — to a phone con known as the grandparent scam. [KCOY]

Dolores Quezada wired $75,500 to an unknown recipient after she received a phone call from someone claiming to be her son who said he had been arrested for driving under the influence and needed to be bailed out of jail.

The man claiming to be Quezada’s son said he was in New York for a friend’s wedding and told her that he was in a car accident. Shortly after, a woman who identified herself as Anna Marie Weston got on the phone and claimed to be the public defender for Quezada’s son. The woman instructed Quezada to wire money, so her son could post bail and prosecutors would drop his charges.

“She said so I need $37,500 from you,” Quezada said.

Quezada went to Wells Fargo and wired the money. The following day, the woman claiming to be the public defender called again and asked for an additional $38,000, telling Quezada her son would remain in jail if she did not wire the money.

After wiring the additional $38,000, Quezada texted her son, who immediately texted back, tipping her that she had fallen for a scam.

“I’m feeling devastated because of the loss of my savings, and there’s no recovering it,” Quezada told KCOY. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

San Luis Obispo police say Quezada most likely wired her money to Mexico. The police department issued a warning recently about grandparent scams, which usually involve phone calls to elderly people from con artists claiming to be relatives who had been arrested or had been in an accident abroad and need money.

The police department says victims have transferred more than $80,000 and $50,000 to Canada and Mexico respectively in two recent cases of grandparent scams.

 


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26 Comments

  1. Spirit Filled says:

    A big portion of elderly moms are so innocent themselves they don’t question or even think that anyone would be giving them the screws. Mom’s are beautiful people and wonderful examples of what the true meaning of love is. This is an example for other mom’s. Lot of woulda, coulda, shoulda’s in it. Too bad.

    I would probably at least look into the son’s past a little. Drugs, or etc.? Addicts can’t be trusted. You know how you can tell if an addict is lying? When he opens his mouth. (Or her mouth).

    How do I know” Been sober for 30 years.

    God Bless

    (3) 21 Total Votes - 12 up - 9 down
    • Spirit Filled says:

      I heard that truth at one of my many meetings over the years. Life’s a bitch for addicts even when in recovery. But sobriety is something worth working and staying in. For me that is a truth so far. Who knows maybe I will give in to the temptations offered to me every little while but right this second I am dry and damn well proud of it.

      Blessings

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. mkaney says:

    Maybe this will inspire my parents to FINALLY get at least caller ID on their 45 year old land line. LoL

    (23) 25 Total Votes - 24 up - 1 down
  3. Rambunctious says:

    Absolutely unbelievable…

    (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
    • Zuma7 says:

      Unbelievable…..that she fell for that…!

      (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
    • r0y says:

      Unbelievable that she only thought to text her son AFTER wiring the initial $37.5K and the followup $38K…

      And who believes that a Prosecutor wants money WIRED to a Western Union (or whichever non-banking entity used).

      (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
  4. Cindy says:

    “I’m feeling devastated because of the loss of my savings, and there’s no recovering it,” Quezada told KCOY. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

    “San Luis Obispo police say Quezada most likely wired her money to Mexico.”

    So the police don’t even know where the money went. That means they didn’t even try to follow up and help her. That really pisses me off. Somebody had to sign for that money and probably show and ID, even if it was fake, there are usually camera’s that capture the perps photo. When are we going to start doing something about this crap? For all we know, the money never even left the country !

    “Probably went to Mexico”, so what, contact the authorities down there and if there is a photo of the perp picking up the funds, have the Federales issue a warrant for the person. Thank You very much in advance. Is that hard? Really, is that so freaking hard?

    (15) 41 Total Votes - 28 up - 13 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Cindy if it was so easy for local jurisdiction’s to go after stuff on the net in a foreign country, then we wouldn’t have the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars of fraud every year on credit cards, this and other scams.

      I have read articles that there is SO MUCH of this going on, it is almost an impossibility to keep up with. Not saying it makes it right but I don’t blame the law in this country. The down side of the Net is that we are now global and there are things outside of our powers now.

      If this is local in our country then yes you can have success with it. I had a deal about seven years ago on eBay with a buyer. I had bought stuff before no problem. Then they ran into money problems and stopped shipping products. I found their contact info. and threatened to call the local police on the east coast where he was. That is how local law enforcement suggested to pursue it, is with the LOCAL department. Well within a day they refunded all monies. Happy ending but ONLY BECAUSE it was within the U.S. I am totally realistic that if this was outside of the country then the money probably would have been gone. So I found the cops did a fine job and the ONLY thing they can do. They CAN’T control things outside of their jurisdiction.

      Oh and one last my odds of loss where about fifty bucks. I ONLY use credit cards on the net. That way you are only liable for fifty at most.

      (9) 15 Total Votes - 12 up - 3 down
      • Cindy says:

        I REPEAT :

        ““San Luis Obispo police say Quezada most likely wired her money to Mexico.””

        “So the police don’t even know where the money went. That means they didn’t even try to follow up and help her.”

        (-2) 32 Total Votes - 15 up - 17 down
        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          And I REPEAT, IT IS NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!!

          The police know this and are not going to waste their resourses. The one to be UPSET with is the CRIMINAL!!! And again like I STATED if you have a crime YOU file a report in the jurisdiction it happened. That would be Mexico!!!!!

          I was ready to file a report over fifty bucks. You can bet your ass, that if I had this much I would be making phone calls myself to Mexico and possibly our embassy there. That is how one would probably want to pursue it. With those that would have the power (I.E. JURISDICTION) in that country.

          (-1) 17 Total Votes - 8 up - 9 down
          • Cindy says:

            “And again like I STATED if you have a crime YOU file a report in the jurisdiction it happened. That would be Mexico!!!!!”

            What is wrong with you today? Why aren’t you reading. NO, that would not be Mexico. The police didn’t even find out where the money went. They just took a guess and said it was “PROBABLY” in Mexico, “PROBABLY” is the key word that I have the problem with here.. For all anyone knows, the money never even left the country.

            (3) 19 Total Votes - 11 up - 8 down
            • winedude says:

              I have to agree. For the most part, the police are pigs and not even slightly interested in helping the public. Yes, there are exceptions but they’re few and far between. Police work is far from the noble profession it was 40 years ago…

              (-12) 30 Total Votes - 9 up - 21 down
              • r0y says:

                Very few professions are the “noble profession (they) were 40 years ago” – perhaps it is a nobility problem we have? At least a decency and moral problem, anyway.

                (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
            • BeenThereDoneThat says:

              O.k. I’ll play the word game. He said MOST likely. He doesn’t know for an absolute so he has to go with next closest.

              So you are willing to believe that the son, who has not even been named as a suspect is quite possibly behind this but you won’t believe that it (money)could have gone to Mexico?????

              I give up.

              (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
              • Cindy says:

                I do believe that the money “COULD HAVE” gone to Mexico but since they didn’t bother to find out where it went, it also could have gone to Los Angeles, CA. right? I don’t expect our police detectives to just throw their hands in the air and say, oh well the money is gone and it most likely went to Mexico. I expect them to inquire with the bank where it went and then make a decision if anything can be done to identify the perp and recover the money. If the money stayed in this country, there is a good chance that a photo can be obtained and posted in a local newspaper where the money was picked up. The sooner action is taken the better chance of recovery.

                As for the son, no he hasn’t been named and it’s not possible to prove he was involved since no one tried to follow up on where the money went or who picked it up but keep in mind that this woman spoke with someone who she actually believed was HER SON. That means whoever spoke to her knew how her son speaks or it actually was her son. This was an inside job. Funny how the son answered her texts message immediately only after the second round of funds had been wired. These scams usually work with grand children rather than with ones own child. Grand parents often aren’t in touch with their adult (over 18) grand children or know where they are or how to contact them. That’s why this is called the “grandparent scam”. I stand by my first impression, the son was involved.

                (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
    • Citizen says:

      Under the new President Pena Nieto, Mexico is not as cooperative as they have been in the past, and has already said they are not working with our Border Patrol and ATF agents on drug trafficking as they have in the past.

      In Paso, we are waiting for Mexico to put up its citizen involved in the drive by shooting of one of our citizens.

      Too bad, isn’t it, that we’re feeding their poor and allowing illegal immigration from Mexico, and they slap us in the face.

      (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
    • unlisted says:

      Cindy, Wells Fargo knows exactly where they wired Mrs. Quezada’s funds. That’s easy – it’s where she instructed them to send it. She should have received, or can easily obtain, a receipt and tracking information for where the money was send. However, where the money went after that is anyone’s guess. Where the money went after it was received will be impossible to track down.

      (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  5. Cindy says:

    “After wiring the additional $38,000, Quezada texted her son, who immediately texted back, tipping her that she had fallen for a scam.”

    Something isn’t right with this picture. She had the ability to contact her son and it would appear that he never replied until after she sent the second round of money. I have a hard time believing that she didn’t try to contact him after the first round and probably even prior to the first round. Combine that with the fact that the caller knew his full name, knew how to contact his grandma (who so happened to have $$) and the caller was convincing enough (regarding her own son who she had the ability to contact) to get two rounds of cash from her and I call a foul.. Look to the son.

    (10) 22 Total Votes - 16 up - 6 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Cindy I HIGHLY doubt it is the son. This scam has been going on (unfortunately successfully) for at least five years that I know of. Yes amazing that they don’t recognize it but again happening regularly.

      (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
      • Cindy says:

        Yes, the scam has been going on for a few years and it gives people who need/want some extra money ideas. “copycats”

        All it takes is a bratty, selfish, spoiled rotten, lazy kid who want’s some free money and a misguided idea that mom and/or dad owe them something. It happens all the time. This is not an entirely ignorant woman, she knows how to text with her cell phone and she did eventually receive a reply from her son after her money was all gone. I stand by my first impression of who was behind this.

        (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          That’s whats nice about opinions we all have one. I know what you are saying but I don’t see the son. It would be easy for them to question him and bring him in, so I don’t see it.

          Again this happens all the time. A person would think HOW doe it keep happening. The elderly are and always have been an easy target for as long as I can remember.

          (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
        • r0y says:

          “All it takes is a bratty, selfish, spoiled rotten, lazy kid who want’s some free money and a misguided idea that mom and/or dad owe them something. It happens all the time.” – speaking of which, whatever happened to Occupy Wall Street?

          (7) 15 Total Votes - 11 up - 4 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      In answer to part of your objection, it is fairly easy to get enough info about someone to convince a slightly gullible friend or relative that you are acting on their behalf. Adding a “crisis” situation will cause some people to lower their skepticism level even further so that relief can happen ASAP.

      A few years ago, I received an email from someone claiming to be my sister asking for help because both she and her husband were mugged in Scotland and lost their passports, credit cards and money. The scammer apparently knew that her daughter was attending a University there and some other details that might convince a casual acquaintance or naive relative that the situation was real.

      The phrasing was off and my sister was not one to panic so easily. Also, her daughter had moved on to another European country at least 6 months before this. A quick call to my mother who lived near my sister confirmed that she was at home and just fine — other than having her computer hacked and her email ID stolen. The fake plea for help went out to everyone in her computer contact book and included other information obviously stolen from her computer files too.

      Moral of the story: So much information is available about most people on-line and within their own computer, that a talented con-artist/thief can make a good living with a little careful planning. Even a second-rate con-artist can fool enough people to do well if they are smart enough to switch tactics and targets before over-worked investigators catch up with them. Just as with real-life thieves who invade your home to steal, you can’t rely on cops to prevent internet-based crime. You must take responsibility for your own safety there too or learn to live with the consequences.

      (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
  6. Ted Slanders says:

    “You never give a sucker and even break.” W.C. Fields

    (7) 15 Total Votes - 11 up - 4 down

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