“The Grandma” Scam


(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Scammers often target older people because they think they can get away with it.

 But in Minersville, a senior citizen helped police to arrest con artists– after they conned her.

      Eyewitness News reporter Rachael Espaillat joined us live from Pottsville at 5 pm to tell us how it all went down.

     It’s called the grandma scam and one Minersville woman fell for it. Unfortunately, this victim did not get her money back but at least three arrests were made.

     Minersville police tell Eyewitness News a grandmother received a call demanding nearly 20 thousand dollars to help her grandson after he’d been in an accident. 

     Not knowing what to do, she told them she had 11 thousand dollars but they would need to pick it up because she couldn’t mail it. Shortly after they picked it up she heard from her grandson and they realized it was a scam…

     “Here you have an 82 year old woman who is living in a senior citizen high rise. Living on a limited income. This was money left from her dead husband about a year or so ago and it’s gone,” Chief Michael Combs, Minersville Police said.

     The scammers weren’t done yet. They called again, asking for more money so police told the victim to arrange another pick up. 

     This time, Instead of getting cash, Cordaro Rhodes got arrested. Police say when the scammers continued to call, the victim told them Rhodes never showed.

     So two days later they sent two more people to collect the money.

      Police then arrested Elvin Valdez-Gonazalez and Luz Bisono-Vargas.

     “They thought she was an easy mark, because they got away with it the first time, they felt comfortable coming back a second time…We played on their greed and that was their down fall in this particular case,” Chief Combs said.

     Chief Combs and his staff were able to trace the scammers calling the shots back to the Dominican Republic.

     The three arrested were family and friends who live in Camden,  New Jersey, where there was already a warrant issued for Rhodes as well.

     Although the police were able to put those three in hand cuffs, police say the ones initiating the transaction are still out there.

     Police say never give out any information or money to anyone you don’t know.

     If you’re being told someone needs money, check with family members or law enforcement to make sure.

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