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Grandmother duped into sending $15,000 to vacant Baltimore home

Posted at 11:52 PM, Aug 23, 2018

BALTIMORE — A 79-year-old New York woman lost thousands of dollars after she fell for the "grandparent scam."

Earlier this week, the woman received a call from someone posing as her granddaughter. The woman on the phone said, "Grandma, I need help," then handed the phone to someone claiming to be her lawyer.

Susan Mayorga's mother thought it was her eldest granddaughter on the phone and agreed to hear the man out.

"He said, you need to send me $10,000 immediately in cash, wrapped in a magazine, here's the address, send it overnight early delivery UPS, and everything will be cleared up," said Mayorga.

Mayorga's mom went straight to the bank, then to UPS where she mailed $10,000 in cash to 208 South Loudon Avenue, a vacant home in Baltimore. The next day, she received another call.

“[He said], 'Oh, I didn't realize there's a gun involved and gunpowder went off, so it's more than a misdemeanor, we need another $10,000,'” said Mayorga.

Her mom only had $5,000 left, and sent it. But before it got there, Mayorga's mom discovered her granddaughter was fine. She immediately told her children and they got to work calling UPS.

“I immediately got the tracking number, I called UPS, and spoke to a supervisor and told them it's a scam, there's cash in the envelope this cannot be delivered. It's a scam, please hold the envelope and have it sent back,” Mayorga said.

UPS tracking history shows they received a request to place the order on hold, but it was still delivered.

“Someone was outside waiting for it and signed his name at 7 a.m. and took the package and left,” Mayorga said.

Last year, 1 in 5 people lost money to impostor schemes like the grandparent scam. The total loss amounted to $328 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission. And scammers get away with it because they know people will do anything for the ones they love.

“It's just sad because she doesn't have a lot of money and she’s like, I would do anything, give my last penny for my grandchildren, so it's just extra sad,” said Mayorga.

Mayorga’s mother called the scammer and he answered. He said he received the package but wanted to know why she tried to hold it up. When she said she knew it was a scam, he threatened her then hung up.

UPS said they're investigating what happened to the package.