Elderly Ruidoso couple nearly scammed by man pretending to be grandson

Updated: 08/18/2014 6:35 PM | Created: 08/18/2014 6:28 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An elderly couple in Ruidoso got quite a scare when someone called claiming to be their grandson turned out to be a scam artist.

Don and Maury St. John live in the mountains, enjoying their retirement on their property in Ruidoso.

But earlier this month, they got a phone call that was anything but enjoyable - a man called claiming to be their grandson.

“He said 'Grandma!', and I go 'Who is this?'. And he again said grandma a little louder, and I said 'Carson!' That was a mistake; I should never have said his name," said Maury St. John.

The man claiming to be her grandson said he was in jail for drunk driving and needed help.

“I said 'are you ok?' He said, 'I’m ok, I've been in an accident, and I broke my nose and my face hit the steering wheel. I've got some damage there',” said St. John. “I said, 'oh that's the reason you sound different?' He said yes."

The man told her he needed some money but not to tell anyone in the family because he was embarrassed.

“You’re frantic, thinking you need to help him," said Mrs. St. John.

The man told her she would just need to wire $5100 to Colombia.

The frantic grandmother says she went to get the money, but her husband wanted to be sure their grandson was really in danger first, and dialed his phone.

He got hold of Carson, who is a college student in California, and realized it was all a hoax.

The grandparents say they didn’t give in to the scam, but want to know how an elaborate con artist in Colombia got their information.

“Any question you asked, he had a good answer for," St. John said.

Don says since then, they’ve received other calls.

“A couple days later, we got another call that 'we need to talk to you about that virus'," said Don St. John, but none claiming to be their grandson.

KOB tried to reach out to Ruidoso police multiple times to see if they’ve received any other reports of scammers, but did not hear back.

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