Federal Way woman avoids ‘grandparents scam’

A Federal Way resident narrowly avoided becoming a victim of the so-called "grandparents scam."

Gigi Ball received a call Sept. 24 from a man claiming to be her grandson, who lives in New Jersey. The caller and a man posing as a public defender asked Ball to wire money via Western Union to bail him out of jail, she said. The two wanted $2,840 in cash sent to Montreal, Canada. Security at Western Union alerted Ball that she was likely being scammed. The money was never sent.

"He sounded just like my grandson and even said ‘please don't tell mom,’" said Ball, 68, about the caller. "He said he got into a car accident in a rental car."

A call to her daughter revealed that Ball's grandson was not in Canada.

According to a report on, Ball's experience is typical for this type of scam. The Web site's report said con artists use a setup to trick seniors into giving the name of a grandchild:

Con: "Hi, Grandpa."

Victim: "Hi."

Con: "Do you know who this is?"

Victim: "Randy?"

Con: "Yeah."

Learn more

To learn more about the scam, visit

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