Benny Turner says there isn't much he wouldn't do for his family. Unfortunately it is this most noble of qualities that some unscrupulous scam artists recently preyed upon.
Turner can still recall the frantic voice he heard through his phone. A voice that he says he recognized. And a voice that needed his help.
The first call came on his cell phone. Later he also got a call on his home phone.
"It was my grandson on the phone," recalls Turner. "And I would have bet $1,000.00 that it was him because his voice is different from anybody else's. And he called me Grandpa, you know?"
His grandson Ben was in Guatemala and drugs had been found in a taxi he was riding in.
Unless he got some cash fast, jail time in a foreign country was going to be part of Ben's immediate future.
Benny immediately went to the nearest Walmart and, at his grandson's request, he used Money Gram to wire $1,800.00. For a later wire he used Western Union. Teller training to help spot this kind of scam didn't help in this case.
"After it was all over with and he was supposed to be back home I thought well...surely he'll call me and say Grandpa I'm back home and I appreciate you doing this, this, this and this," says Turner. "And I never heard from him."
As you have probably guessed, and as Benny knows now, his grandson was safe and sound in St. Louis.
But before he figured it out, he had wired $3,800.00.
"I didn't have the money to start with to send him but if it's your grandson you know, you're going to do anything it takes to help him," says Turner.
The scam artists urged Benny not to tell anyone, but now he wants to tell everyone...hoping that others don't fall for this high-pressure scam that preys on a person's love for his family.
Air date: August 29th, 2013