Schemers target veterans and the elderly

West Springfield Council on Aging said people in Western Massachusetts have been victims

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  Thieves are using phone and web schemes to steal from unsuspecting grandparents.

The so called “grandparent” schemers call pretending to be a loved ones urgently in need of money. The West Springfield Council on Aging said they’ve seen this con in our area.

Sarah Long told 22News her grandfather was a victim of one of these schemes, sending hundreds of dollars to people in Louisiana.

“It hurt, and it’s scary,” Long said. “It was almost invading him.”

Laurie Cassidy, Director of the West Springfield Council on Aging said “We’ve been made aware of many people who have been scammed responding to say a Facebook ad, responding to a link on a computer, and they’ve been bilked out of thousands of dollars.”

Local senior services said the number one thing you shouldn’t do is share your banking or personal information over the phone. If someone claims your loved one is in trouble, you should call that person first. If they don’t want to let you off the phone, that’s a red flag.

Long said schemers were so persistent after her grandfather sent money, they had to shut off his landline. But schemers still found a way to get through, sending a local contractor to his home.

“My grandfather had no idea he was coming, all the scammer wanted the contractor to hand his cell phone to my grandfather and they were willing to go to that length to try and get some more money out of him,” Long said.

Long said the post office was able to recover some, but not all, of the hundreds of dollars he had sent the schemers.

It can be difficult to near impossible recover stolen money, but police, the Attorney General’s Office and the Senior Protective Services Division do work to help get it back.