by Paul Bowers
An 84-year-old Charleston man says he was scammed out of nearly $8,000 by a con artist who claimed that the man's granddaughter needed someone to post bail money after being arrested in the Dominican Republic.
According to an incident report filed with the Charleston Police Department on June 6, the grandfather says he received a call on May 12 from a man who said he was working with law enforcement in the Dominican Republic. The man on the phone told the grandfather that his granddaughter had been arrested and that he would need to send bond money in the form of MoneyGram and Western Union wire transfers.
The grandfather says the man gave him several phone numbers to use to transfer the funds and instructed him which stores to go to in order to purchase the money orders. That day and the following day, the victim says he sent eight money orders totaling $7,931.
According to the incident report, the grandfather "was visibly upset and crying" while speaking to the officer because "he truly believed his granddaughter was in trouble." The grandfather told the officer he had since spoken with his granddaughter, who lives in Charleston and was never in the Dominican Republic.
"The victim advised [the officer] that he waited until now to report the incident because [he] was embarrassed," the report states. "The victim further advised he wished to report this incident today so that it would not happen to anyone else." The officer told the victim con artists had been targeting elderly people with similar scams recently.