Courts & Crime

Elders fall to cold-blooded 'grandma scams'

The hysterical woman who called Jean Tatum on July 6 identified herself as one of Tatum's granddaughters. She said she was in jail in Canada and needed lots of money, fast.

Tatum, 72, a Custer resident, was being set up for an expensive fall by crooks using the "grandma scam."

To Tatum, it really sounded like her granddaughter's voice.

"Of course, she's crying, begging me not to tell her mother," Tatum said. "I'll go to my grave swearing it was her."

As soon as Tatum hung up the phone she got a call from "Sgt. Brower." He said her granddaughter had been arrested along with several other people in a car that contained illegal drugs.

"They gave me half an hour to get bail money," Tatum said. "He said, 'You need $6,000.'"

Sgt. Brower told her to have the money wired to a man in Sydney, Australia. Tatum naturally wanted an explanation.

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