SLO woman loses life savings to grandparent scam
May 17, 2013
A 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.