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Elderly scam victim gets money back

By Jonathan Radford, jradford@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 12 2014 06:09:22 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 12 2014 04:23:44 PM CST
SCAM RETURN
BRISTOL, Va. -

Helen Sweet tells News 5 she's always put her faith in God.

"I have been reading in Psalms, how you trust in God and how God takes care of things, and everything is going to be right," said Helen Sweet,84, of Bristol, Virginia.

Sweet's faith was put to the test when she was scammed on Thursday. "I had a phone call and I picked it up. This young woman was crying," said Sweet. "It sounded just like my granddaughter. I asked, 'Who is this?' She said, "It's me, Nana. It's me, Mandy."

But the person on the line was a scammer pretending to be Sweet's granddaughter.

The caller said she was in a Dominican Republic jail following a car accident. She said she needed Sweet to send almost $1,700 so she could get out of jail and come back home. "The main thing that was in my mind was to get my granddaughter home," said Sweet.

Sweet tells us she quickly wired the money through Money Gram.

It came as a shock when she talked to her daughter and found out Mandy was in Roanoke and was never in harm's way. "I knew what had happened," said Sweet. "I knew I had been scammed and it was too late."

On Friday, she got a second call that changed everything. "In the afternoon, I got a phone call from Money Gram saying they had problems delivering the money," said Sweet. "There were two men with the same name and they didn't know which one. I said the whole thing is scam."

For the next five hours Sweet's daughter worked with the wiring company to get the money back.

Sweet tells us she's relieved, but says she was never really worried. "I had that strong feeling that God was going to take care of me," said Sweet. "I was thinking my money is gone, but things are going to be okay and I’m going to get my money back."

The Bristol, Virginia Police Department tells us if anybody asks for money over the phone, don’t give them anything. They say you should also write down their phone number and report it to police.