Hillsboro couple loses $11,000 in 'Granny Scam' - KPTV - FOX 12

Hillsboro couple loses $11,000 in 'Granny Scam'

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Jack and Karla Carmichael (KPTV) Jack and Karla Carmichael (KPTV)

An elderly couple in Hillsboro says they got scammed out of $11,000 when a thief called claiming to be their son in jail.

It’s called the “Granny Scam”. The idea is that someone targets an elderly woman or couple and claims to be their child or grandchild in trouble, asking for money.

Last week, Karla and Jack Carmichael got that call and they truly believed they were talking to their son.

“It just sounded like him. It’s all I can say,” said Karla. “The way he said ‘Gee thanks Mom and Dad. I’m so appreciative’.”

Their son lives in Southern California and a man claiming to be a police sergeant called and said he’d been arrested on drug charges. He explained the case and said the Carmichael’s son needed $2,000 for bail. The man claiming to be their son talked to them briefly and then the sergeant came back, telling them a wire transfer would take too long.

So he told Karla and Jack to go buy several iTunes gift cards and then call him back with the card identification numbers.

The calls went on for five days – the same sergeant asking for more and more money for fines and other fees. Then on Monday, the Carmichaels finally realized it was a scam. They played along with one more phone call and recorded it just to have it as evidence.

On the next call, they confronted the man who called himself Sergeant Randall:

Jack: “I already know this is a scam. It’s a fraud! I talked to my son today. He is at home and was at work and you have frauded me out of $11,000. How do you like that?”
Caller: “I don’t know what you’re talking about sir.”
Jack: “Yeah, I do. Because I do!”

After talking with the Oregon Attorney General’s office and filing a police report, the Carmichael’s say do not take calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize. And be suspicious of anyone asking for money, even if they sound like a relative.

“Even if they tell you not to do something, do it anyway,” said Jack. “If your gut tells you to call your son, you call your son. Or call his wife and family. I don’t care what the circumstances are. Call somebody that’s in the area because we were out of the area. That’s another way they prey on you because you’re not nearby. They count on that.”

Hillsboro Police are investigating this case.

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