When friends or family are in trouble, you do whatever you can to help. And that's what con artists are counting on.
Tonight, a Contact 13 Consumer Alert, about a scam that cost one local woman big money.
"They slipped in and slipped out. It's the only way to say, and I'm miserable about it," says Helen Schneider.
She can't believe what happened. It all started with a scary phone call from someone asking for grandma.
"He said grandma I'm in Utah, and I'm in the county jail... I said Glen? He says yes," says Helen.
The caller said he had been arrested after a car crash and was facing possible charges.
"He needed help. He needed help," says Helen.
She says another man was put on the phone, who identified himself as the public defender.
"He said, he's in trouble and you could help. All you have to do is send $1,650 for bail," says Helen.
But there was a catch. To avoid any record of the incident on Glen's license, she had to wire the money to a bail bondsman in New York.
"He told me exactly what to do. I followed everything," says Helen.
But this wasn't the end of the problem. The very next day, Helen got another call.
"He said that my grandson had been in front of the Justice of the Peace, and he doubled the amount of the bail. He said I would have to send another $1,650," says Helen.
Helen was shocked. But it just so happens, her daughter, Glen's mother, had just come over for a visit. So Helen asked about her grandson.
"She says no, no. I spoke to him yesterday from California. He's home. he's fine," says Helen.
She couldn't believe it.
"I realized that I had been scammed," says Helen.
Now she's warning others. She's hoping her story will help others from becoming another victim.
"Somebody came into my life. I don't know who it was and it worries me. It worries me that I have to live now afraid of a telephone call," says Helen.
Here's the Contact 13 bottom line.
Helen's first mistake was saying her grandson's name. If you get a strange call, be careful about what information you provide.
And never wire money to someone you don't know. Once that money is sent, it's gone for good.
Helen says she verified the public defender's ID with an online search. But remember, scammers use accurate information all the time to appear legit.
If you've been the victim of a scam, let us know.
Email us at email@example.com.