Local grandmother almost duped by scam

(WFSB) – Scammers tried to take advantage of a local grandmother this week.

She caught on before being duped, then reached out to Eyewitness News to share her story, hoping to raise awareness and help other people avoid getting taken for a ride.

“She said grandma please don’t be mad at me I’m in trouble and I said Kat don’t cry and that my granddaughters name, I just gave her name,” said Barbara Koontz of Avon. “He said that she had been in an accident, and she had hit, in the car was a pregnant woman and they were both taken away in the hospital and they were not sure if they were going to live. And they had dragged her to a detention center in Waterbury this person said.”

71-year-old Barbara Koontz said on Monday morning she received a 15-minute phone call from someone posing as her granddaughter claiming she needed thousands of dollars.

“And I kept thinking how can all these things be wrong but yet this guy is telling me he is calling from the police department and I need to pay $15,402, which is a weird bail number, in a hour. And I cannot talk to a third party and I could not ask my husband to help me raise that money,” said Barbara.

Barbara says that the person posing on the phone used COVID as a reason why her voice sounded different and the man speaking on the phone was claiming to be her lawyer, but Barbara knew better.

“And you said he gave you a case number?” Eyewitness News asked.

“Yeah but I didn’t write that down but he gave me his phone number and name. Even said his name was Mike,” Barbara said.

“I said Katlyn I don’t think this is your voice but I don’t want to make a decision can you please tell me something personal that only you and I would know? And I said how about my nickname, and she said ‘Grammy’ and I proceeded with I’m sorry with some words that shouldn’t have come out of my mouth. I said to her you are not my granddaughter, and this is a big scam and in my heart, I’m saying I hope this is true because I’m going to hang up and that’s the end of that,” Barbara said.

Barbara says soon after she hung up, she was in tears and immediately called her granddaughter.

“I hung up and called my granddaughter at work and she answered and I said ‘are you in detention in Waterbury’ and she said ‘no’ and I was relieved and I called the police and reported it to the Avon police and they said that was the second report they had of this scam,” said Barbara.

Barbara shares police told her since there was no crime was committed there was not much that could be done.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Better Business Bureau to see if they could help.

“What we recommend people to do is go to bbb.org/scamtracker and you can do one of two things, you can look up scams and they can see if this type of scam is happening in their area and state. They can actually look by zip code,” said Kristen Johnson, Director of Communications for Better Business Bureau serving Connecticut.

If you have been a victim or if anyone has attempted to scam you and you haven’t lost any money, report it.