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Seniors scammed out of at least $200k in Morgan, Madison Counties

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 5:26 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - For many, handing over hard-earned money is an easy choice when a loved one needs help.

And we’ve learned in the last few weeks seniors in Morgan and Madison Counties have lost at least $200,000, but not to the person they thought was on the phone.

The grandparent’s scam isn’t new, but it’s certainly making its rounds here in the Valley. One person in Morgan County gave $50,000 dollars to a scammer.

When Sandra Bailey’s phone rang, it didn’t take her long to hang up. But not everyone can say the same.

She was a target of the grandparent’s scam that’s making victims all over the Tennessee Valley.

In this scam, the scammer will pretend to be a grandchild or family member and create a story as to why they need your money.

“I immediately hung up when he said, ‘Hey grandma.’ Because my grandson doesn’t call me that. So I knew it wasn’t him. And I’m so thankful that I did,” Sandra Bailey said.

Bailey says she’s very aware of the scam since her friend was taken advantage of several years ago.

“She was so embarrassed and hated it so bad that she did that. And she was by herself at the time. And she just went and got it out of the bank,” Bailey explained.

In the last several weeks more than $200,000 have been handed to these scammers in Morgan and Madison Counties.

According to the Morgan County Sherriff’s Office, one senior sent $50,000 to a scammer.

“It’s awful. I feel so sorry, some of those people probably couldn’t afford it, but they were trying to help their grandkids. It’s just awful,” Bailey said.

So how do you protect yourself?

The marketing director for the Huntsville Madison County Senior Center recommends having a plan.

“Ask for things in writing, don’t give out pertinent information over the phone. You might even use a safe word or a phrase. Say, ‘honey if you’re going to call me and ask me for something, you need to say x,y and z and I’ll know that it’s you,” Cathie Wayne said.

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