'Grandparent Scam' nabs almost $100K from Missouri grandma

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Most grandparents would do almost anything to protect their grandchildren.

One Heartland grandma thought she was doing just that to instead find out she was actually being scammed for nearly two weeks.

It's called the "Grandparent Scam" - and for good reason.

The idea behind it is scammers call older people and claim to be their grandchild or someone helping out their grandchild.

"I don't think anyone can realize just exactly how hard it is until you've gone through it," Ruth Reinkensmeyer, a grandmother of two, said. "Two weeks ago I got a call that I thought was my grandson, and he said, ' Hi grandma, It's Brandon. Sorry, I haven't called you lately, you know I love you so much."

The caller went on to describe a weekend trip with college friends to Cancun, all while saying he was Reinkensmeyer's grandson. A second voice got on the phone and claimed to be from the US Embassy in Mexico, saying that Brandon had been arrested for a DUI and needed money to pay bail. Reinkensmeyer sent the money, but the calls continued to come in with more troubles and increasingly requiring more money. She said that the first voice kept her going along with the scam.

"Yea, I would not have been convinced if I wasn't positive it was him," she said. "You know that's the only reason it happened."

Reinkensmeyer said the scammers were able to get nearly $100,000 out of her.

"You know, it's pretty well my whole life savings and I'm at the point now where I have to pay back the money I have borrowed and I'm barely living on my social security right now. I have to worry about how am I going to survive."

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