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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The internet is full of scam artists, some of whom prey on senior citizens pretending to be a loved one in trouble.

Mary Meyer, a grandmother who lives in New Jersey, should know – they gave her a terrible scare. Meyer said she still gets emotional when she thinks about the call she received from someone posing as her granddaughter.

“‘Grandmom, grandmom!’ So I’m thinking this is Renee. And I said ‘what’s a matter?’ and she said ‘I had an accident’,” said Meyer.

The person on the other end told Meyer she had been in a minor crash and that she was with a bondsman who was demanding her grandmother pay $2,600.

“I was upset, she was hurt, I didn’t know how badly she was hurt,” said a very upset Meyer.

But the 80-year old became suspicious and told the caller she needed to consult her lawyer. As soon as she did that, the woman on the other end of the line hung up.

Meyer reached out to a family friend, Adam Levin, who happens to be a cyber security expert. He told her she almost fell victim to a common trap known as the “grandparent scam.”

The Federal Trade Commission said last year alone it received more than 400-thousand complaints about imposter scams, including the grandparent scam.

Levin said a major red flag is when the caller requests a specific type of payment.

“A cashier’s check, some kind of bank check, pre-paid debit cards. They are not interested in almost anyway with taking a credit card because credit cards have robust fraud protections,” said Levin.

Meyer never handed over any money. She’s now trying to get the word out to other seniors not to fall for the trap.


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