A Jefferson County couple may be $4,800 poorer because they cared about their granddaughter. That is precisely what the vicious scam artists who took their money hoped.
Last week the two received a shocking telephone call. Their granddaughter, who attends Ohio State University, had been arrested, they were informed.
Someone whose voice sounded like the granddaughter gave them the startling news, then turned the phone over to another woman who claimed she worked with a bail bond office. For $2,400, the granddaughter could be gotten out of jail, the worried local couple was told.
They wired the money to an address in Peru. Another call resulted in $2,400 more being sent to Ecuador. But by the time a third call seeking another $4,200 came in, the grandparents became suspicious. They verified their granddaughter had not been arrested.
Their money probably cannot be recovered because it was sent abroad, though the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is investigating.
Sheriff Fred Abdalla said he has seen five or six identical scams during the past few years. That is not at all surprising. The worst scum of the earth know preying on compassionate people can mean big payoffs.
In such a situation, many of us would do just as the Jefferson County grandparents did. But remember: Scam artists often count on catching us off-guard. Don't allow that. Take the time to verify the facts - beyond any doubt - before parting with any money.