A local couple fell victim recently to an ongoing scam hitting many communities.
On Friday, Nov. 18, the couple -- who wished to remain anonymous -- received a phone call in regard to their "grandson."
They were told their "grandson" was in jail and needed money to bail out. Their "grandson" explained he did not want anyone else in the family to know what was going on.
"It was real," the female victim explained to The Brazil Times. "The guy impersonating our grandson. He sounded frightened. He sounded scared. That's the way he always talks to us.
"He told us what had happened. He was very upset. Supposedly, he was in jail."
The woman said they were informed their "grandson" was in jail following an accident that was supposedly his fault.
After talking to their "grandson," a "lawyer" came to the phone to further explain the issue.
"He started on me, and he brainwashed me," she said. "Everything was, 'Hurry. Do this and do that. And don't tell anyone.' He pulled all the right strings."
According to the woman, they immediately withdrew money from the bank and wired it to the perpetrators.
After the couple wired the money, they received another call.
"They called back for more money," she said. "There were so many red flags. But I didn't think about a scam. It didn't even enter my mind. It just went from one wild story to another."
She said they went back to their bank for more money. However, a teller at the bank immediately told them she believed they were being scammed.
"We just didn't accept it," she said. "We had to get the money. We weren't aware of it.
"But we were finally convinced, and we just sat there like zombies."
Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times this scam is quite familiar.
"This is the same one. We just had one last week and it was with someone in our department," Heaton said. "It was down in Mexico, and they needed to send 'X' amount of dollars. It was just a scam."
Heaton said scams like this will not end anytime soon. He added even with rough economic times, these scams have persisted.
"This is about regular," he said. "It's just they always come up with different ways to be convincing, to suck people in. That is something people have to be aware of. What grandparent would not want to help a grandchild?
"That makes it easier. They become much more of a target for these types of scams. There's just those type of people out there that will prey on the vulnerable."
Heaton said it is important for anyone in the community to be aware of these types of phone calls.
"Anything over the telephone, especially anything involving a local family member, call local law enforcement, especially if you have caller ID," he said. "Never give out personal information."
But for the local family, the initial money that was wired is now lost.
"We don't have that kind of money, but it's gone," the woman said. "It's killing us both."