Signal Mountain Police have a warning tonight about the "Grandparent Scam" going around.
One local victim, a retired attorney, says the criminals did their homework, getting him to pay out $5,000 in all. He's sharing his story with Channel 3, in hopes of warning others.
"The Grandparent Scam" targets the elderly population. Police say the victim gets a phone call from someone pretending to be their daughter or grandchild in trouble, then they are asked to send money. Signal Mountain Police are seeing several victims lose thousands of dollars with this scam.
" It sounded like her but with maybe a cold," said Pat Taintor, Scam victim.
67-year-old Pat Taintor got a call from his daughter in Boston or so he thought.
"Her story was that she got a ride from a friend of hers and they were stopped and there was drugs in the car and she needed bail money," said Taintor.
He was hesitant at first, but then there were tears and just enough information to convince him that his daughter was in trouble.
"Of course she said don't tell anybody, I don't want anybody in the family to know that this has happened," said Taintor.
Then a lawyer got on the phone and asked for money on a Best Buy gift card. Pat who is a retired attorney himself, knew the request seemed odd. He says in the end, he just wanted to help his daughter.
"I just didn't check up on it and if I had thought about it I would have figured it out," said Taintor. " I'm embarrassed frankly that it could be pulled."
After $5,000 dollars of bail money, court and attorney fees, Pat says it was an employee at the Best Buy who told him to call police. He later got in touch with his real daughter and discovered the story was a con.
"Really it can happen to anybody," said Det. Jim Tizzio, Signal Mountain Police Dept. "We've had different age groups fall for different types of scams but this one especially targets the elderly."
Police say the bad guys in this scam do their homework. They might know names and places where your loved ones are traveling, or they know how to answer certain questions to alleviate suspicion. The criminals will also impersonate doctors, lawyers, police officers and court clerk if needed. Officials say grandparents who aren't in touch with their loved ones on a daily basis, can easily be fooled.
"It's really hard to determine especially if they say well I'm sick or I got hurt and they are disguising their voice," said Det. Tizzio. "They know what they are doing."
If you have received a call like this or believe that you too could be a victim, call your local police department.
Click here for more tips on how to protect yourself from this scam.