When Jeri Batsford saw an elderly woman in a home-improvement store in Lenoir City about to buy two $1,000 gift cards – supposedly for her granddaughter in jail in Virginia – Batsford knew she had to act.
She said she approached the woman and told her she was being scammed. Batsford said the woman seemed to be confused, so Batsford called the police, who were able to convince her not to buy the gift cards.
The store has signs posted near its registers warning consumers about scams, and their employees undergo fraud training.
The “grandma scam” is getting increasingly common and it’s costing victims millions of dollars, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
FTC statistics show Tennessee is the fifth-most vulnerable state when it comes to scams, with a total of $41 million lost to scammers in 2018.
Lenoir City police said Batsford did the right thing, persuading the elderly woman not to fall for the scam.
Batsford said she was a victim of a scam herself, some years back, and the woman reminded her of her own grandmother, who would do anything for her grandkids.