BBB warns of holiday scams after North Shore grandmother nearly loses thousands

BBB warns of holiday scams after grandmother nearly loses thousands

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - We're not showing you this grandmother's face or using her name in order to protect her identity. But what recently happened to her brings her to tears.

"He sounded hurt and he sounded desperate," she said.

She got a call from someone claiming to be her grandson.

"He starts in a panic mode immediately, telling me he's in trouble and he's in a Central American country, that he was down there for a wedding and on the way to the airport they were in an accident," she said. "I said, 'Who am I talking to?' And this young man said, 'Your oldest grandson.' And I said, 'Well you don't sound like yourself.' He said, 'That's because when I was in the accident, the airbag deployed, it hit me in the face and broke my nose.'"

To help, she was told she needed to send money. So, she did - more than $9,000.

"I think this is the thing that has really shaken me is that I'm not an easy person to fool, but I bought into it hook, line and sinker," the victim said.

Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau said it's called the "grandparent scam."

"They will do anything to separate you from your money, and this is a terrible time of year to do that, but, obviously it does work in many cases," said Albert.

Albert said there some things to look out for.

"Red flags should go up if they tell you they want you to wire the money or use a pre-paid card," she said. "That's cash - it's gone and you will probably never see it in again."

But the scam victim we talked to, along with her daughter, said earlier this month they received nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

"I carry on conversations with my maker and my thoughts to him was please help me to get over this, to accept that I have made a foolish mistake," the scam victim said. "And eight days later, the money came back to me. In my mind, God sent me that money, he took care of me."

Those thousands of dollars that she mailed - that she was scammed out of - were returned to sender by the person who received it, after they saw that it had been sent to the wrong address.

"I don't know if she was so upset she wrote down the address wrong," said the victim's daughter. "We jokingly said, well, if you're going to mess up, mess up all the way because it ended up bringing the money back to us."

As you might imagine, the BBB said it sees more scams this time of year. They also want you to beware of fake charities this holiday season. For more information on how you can tell if a charity is legitimate, the BBB says you can check them out on

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