Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Family means just about everything to Carl Shaffer. He says he'd do anything to help them. In 1976, he gave his brother a kidney.
"Other than being married and having two kids, giving my brother a kidney was the most important thing I've done,” Carl Shaffer said.
So it shouldn't come as any surprise what his first response was when he thought his grandchild was in trouble.
"How can I help? That's exactly what I thought,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer says he got a call from someone claiming to be his oldest grandson, Caleb.
"I said, 'well how you doing?' He says, 'not too good, I'm in jail in Lima Peru,'" Shaffer said.
The caller said he needed $10,200 to make bail and he asked his "granddad" to keep it quiet.
"Don't tell the parents don't tell anybody,” Shaffer said.
But Shaffer says he was so worried about his grandson, he went straight to the bank and wired the money.
A few days later, he got another call asking for $27,000.
"So I says how do you spell your name and he says K-A-L and I knew right then it was a scam because he spells it with a C,” Shaffer said.
Police say questions like that are the first thing anyone should do if they get a similar call.
"Make sure you are aware of who you are talking to and verify it before you wire the money because once you send it, it's gone,” Captain Gavin Seiler with the Wichita Police Department said.
Carl Shaffer says by the time he found out the real Caleb was at college in Texas, it was too late. His money was gone.
Now he wants his story to serve as a warning: beware of callers who want to use your love of family for their own personal gain.
Police say to prevent the scam from happening to you: first, resist the pressure to act quickly. Even if they tell you not to tell anyone, go ahead and call your grandchild or another family member right away to see if the call is legitimate.