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Grandma scammed, left with nothing
At 79 years old, one Tucson grandma is learning about how vicious scam artists can be.
Reporter: Tammy Vo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Betty Stapleton, 79, baked the cookies and bought the flowers. All she was waiting for was her granddaughter, Virginia, to show up at her Tucson home. Betty thought that she had just paid to bail Virginia out of jail. Instead, she had unknowingly forked over a large sum of cash to some hungry thieves.
How much? $161,000. Her life savings and her retirement, all gone.
Betty described to KGUN 9 how it all began when several weeks ago, the phone rang.
"She said 'Hi grandma... it's your granddaughter'."
Only, it really wasn't Betty's granddaughter. It was a woman pretending to be her, saying that she was out of town and got into a drunk driving crash, hit another woman and was in jail. She needed $50,000 from granny to get out.
The woman kept calling, saying that she needed more money or else she would go to prison for ten years on manslaughter charges. The woman asked Betty to promise not to tell anyone, and she agreed. After all, she couldn't let her granddaughter go to jail. Betty wired the money.
Then, it all unraveled when she got a call from her real granddaughter who simply called to say hello. Betty realized at that moment she had been scammed and told KGUN 9 about it in tears.
"I knew then that they had taken all that I had. They took $161,027," Betty said. That money amounted to 95% of her savings.
"I thought I was helping her and saving her life. Instead, I destroyed my own," Betty said.
Betty sad she now understands that she should've immediately called her son to find out if her granddaughter was really in trouble. She wants everyone to learn from this irreversible mistake.
Sadly, Tucson Police say that it is unlikely Betty will get her money back because these scammers are impossible to track down. Police remind everyone nevery hand over money unless you can verify that the situation is legit.