Grandmother loses $6,000 in iTunes gift card scam


KOTO 5 News Oklahoma reported an unfortunate incident involving a grandmother being swindled out of $6,000 in an iTunes gift card scam. 

Read more: Warning: Facebook scammers are pretending to be your friends and family

Grandmother swindled out of $6,000

Mary Lou Gresham, a resident of Edmond, Oklahoma said she received a phone call from a man claiming to be her grandson and asking for help. 

‘I got this call, and this voice said, ‘Grandma!” she says, thinking she was talking to her grandson James. The voice said he had gotten into trouble with the law and he needed $2,000 to post bond. 

‘He says, ‘I need you to go to the store and buy $2,000 worth of iTune cards.’ I said, ‘iTunes cards, you’ve got to be kidding me!” 

But she agreed, and gave the man she thought was her grandson the serial numbers on the back of the cards. Subsequently, the man drained the value of the cards and kept sending her back to buy more cards, eventually defrauding her of $6,000. At this point though, she knew something wasn’t right and called police. 

In tears, Gresham told reporters, ‘Every couple of hours I feel like someone just slapped me in the stomach. I just have to get over it. I have to be glad it was just money and not something worse,’ she said.

Police say it’s not likely she’ll get the money back, and are warning people about this type of scam. People are not only claiming to be family members, but also from the IRS and online love interests. Anyone who experiences anything similar and suspects a scam are advised to call police. 

Read more: Pump and dump scams make a comeback

How to avoid similar scams

There are a ton of different phone scams out there, and while each is carried out differently, there are some general rules of thumb when it comes to protecting yourself from criminals:

  • If you ever get a call asking for money over the phone or for money to be paid or sent later, do not send any money immediately. If you think it could be a friend or family member, hang up and call the person directly. Even if the call comes from a known number, scammers use technology to make it look like the call is coming from a legitimate company or person you know.
  • If you receive a phone call from an unknown number, don’t call it back without researching the number. It could be a scam!

  • The IRS phone scam is a popular one. Know this: The IRS will *not* contact you by phone asking for money. They only contact you by snail mail if they want to get in touch with you. So if you get one of these calls, hang up the phone!

See more tips on how to avoid phone scams.

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