When Rose West answered her phone last week, she thought her prayers had been answered. "You instantly think this is your hope line,” she said. “This is something to get you passed where you're at."
A man claiming to be from the government told Rose she had won the federal jackpot. “This guy says he's from Washington DC from a ‘Grants Program’ and the ‘Grants Program’ has taken 17,000 people and given them $8,000 because they were low income, weren't in jail, and didn't take advantage of any program and didn't file bankruptcy, in spite of everything."
All that was true, she hadn’t done any of those things. The man on the phone even had her name, date of birth, home address and of course her cell phone number. But there’s something else that made West want to bite and he probably didn't know.
"I had applied for one of those grants a couple years ago, and I thought, ‘well, governments slow.’" “You immediately think this is a good thing. You have the stimulus; maybe it’s a program you don't know about."
KEPR called the ‘Grant Program’ using the information West gave us. That included a special pin code and security ID number – that was registered to only her. “They are efficient,” said West. “They have a protocol, and they have your information,” she said.
The program confirmed Rose was “unemployed, 57 and single.” The voice on the other end added “once you receive your grant money you buy a car and pay bills."
"They made it sound professional," said West.
“You can receive the money by Western Union,” the voice said, reminding us “it's not a small amount, it’s a huge amount with a once in a lifetime deposit."
That's when too good to be true, truly is. They asked us for $210, when Rose called it was $310. “The more questions you ask, the more nervous they get," said West.
After a few more questions, they hung up on us. KEPR called back again, asking if it was a scam. A different person answered the line, and told us to stop calling them up. The voice this time said “yes, we are a scam, OK?”
Rose didn't get scammed -- she figured it out before giving them her account numbers. KEPR called the Benton County Sheriff, so far West’s is the only complaint. However, a quick search online shows this scam is rampant from coast to coast.