Scheme targets grandparents’ savings

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A cruel scheme targeting local grandparents starts with something they often can’t get enough of – a call from a grandchild.

Call 12 for Action spoke to a West Warwick couple who hopes their story will prevent others from falling victim to this horrible trick.

The caller always begins the conversation with one simple word – grandpa, or grandma – and ends with a desperate plea for money.

Like most grandparents, Ann and Ray Mayette would do anything for their grandchildren. So when they got a call from someone claiming to be their grandson begging for help, they were horrified.

“He had been pulled over in Manchester, New Hampshire and there was drugs in the car, but he got tested for drugs and he was innocent, there were no drugs in his body, and he needed money to get out of jail to get back to school,” Ann explained.

Unfortunately, the Mayettes had never heard of the grandparent scheme, and desperate to bail their grandson out of jail – they were told to purchase $4,000 in loadable cards. They grabbed their coats and keys and sprang into action.

The Mayettes were told to call back a number that was supposedly the Manchester Police Department to read off the numbers on the card in order to transfer the money. The schemer became greedy, however, and wanted more.

“He says ‘we have a problem, the rental car was in your grandson’s name,’ and because the car was ripped apart, they wanted a deposit of $3,000,” Ann explained.

The Attorney General’s office says grandparent schemes are rampant, especially around the holidays when people are more likely to travel.

“This is one of the most heart-wrenching scams,” said spokesperson Amy Kempe. “Unfortunately, once you wire the money – the money is gone.”

After the schemer asked for money the third time, that’s when the Mayettes realized they were being scammed. They contacted their grandson, who was safe and sound at college hundreds of miles from New Hampshire.

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