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Published October 09, 2013, 06:08 PM

Fargo grandmother outsmarts phone scammers

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We've all heard the story: A grandma or grandpa picks up the phone and someone claims to be a grandchild on the other line. Most say they need help, and more importantly, money.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We've all heard the story: A grandma or grandpa picks up the phone and someone claims to be a grandchild on the other line. Most say they need help, and more importantly, money.

It's called the "grandparents scam." And it's becoming much harder to spot.

This scam has been around for a few years, but as Shirley Blake of Fargo shows us, it's the scammers who are becoming much more clever. So now, more than ever before, it's our job to outsmart them.

For Shirley Blake it all started midafternoon when she picked up the phone to someone sounding exactly like her grandson.

Blake: “He has kind of a lisp and he had surgery and he says, ‘Hello grandma.’”

At the time, she was convinced it was him.

Blake: “I said, ‘How are you doing?’ And he said, ‘I’m in trouble.’”

He went on to tell her he'd been in a car accident, and was now in jail and needed her help getting out.

Blake: “And I thought good grief.”

To make matters worse, another person got on the phone claiming to be from the Fargo Police Department, even giving a real officer's name.

Blake: “How they got all this information and what they did, I have no clue. But I was falling for it.”

Now to Shirley, this didn't seem like the grandson she knows and loves, so she called her husband.

Blake: “And he said something is not right here.”

And all it took was one more call to the jail -

Blake: “So they checked and they said we don't have anybody here by that name.”

- To know it was all a scam.

But the fact that scammers had such personal information about her and her family is what scares Shirley the most.

Blake: “We grew up in a time when things were good.”

Now, hoping that others like her will not be fooled by such clever calls.

Blake: “I think that's where elderly people get sucked in. They want to help, if they can.”

Anyone who receives a call like this should call the state's attorney general as well as police.

They don't keep track of how often the grandparents scam is happening but say it's been around for several years, and is becoming more common.

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