Thousands duped by 'Grandma Scam' - CBS46 News

Thousands duped by 'Grandma Scam'

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"One morning I answered the phone and this a young fellow said, 'Hi Grandma," recalled fraud victim Wanda Wood.

She said the voice sounded just like her grandson, Matt. He told her he was in Canada and needed help, so she immediately wired $4,500 to him via MoneyGram.


Con artists intercepted the money, along with funds sent by hundreds of other victims.

The Justice Department found MoneyGram in violation of processing thousands of transactions for individuals known to be involved in scams.

"The corrupt agents converted the money transfers to cash in a manner that maintained the anonymity of fraudsters," said US Postal Inspector Nick Alicea.

MoneyGram profited from the scheme by collecting fees and other revenues on the fraudulent transactions. Schemes included the "grandparent scam" that lured in Wood, as well as secret shopper scams and sweepstakes or lottery scams.

Don Golden's mother lost $60,000 and came close to losing her home.

"She decided that she didn't have the money to pay her school taxes because she was putting all of her money in this sweepstakes activity," he said.

MoneyGram has agreed to pay $100 million for its role in the scam between 2004 and 2009.

"This in my mind is a milestone day because we are seeing some justice for my mother and my family," Golden said.

Postal inspectors will distribute $46 million to almost 18,000 victims across the country. If you think you may have been victimized, go to to file a request for compensation.

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