A local couple lost more than $11,000 in an increasingly common scam, this time with a more personal twist.
Sally and John Beaver said they were well aware of the so-called grandparents scam, but when they became victims of it, they never once questioned they were talking to their grandson J.R.
“He called us by our nicknames, Moggy and Johnny, which right off the bat we immediately thought it was him,” Sally Beaver said.
J.R. is in the U.S. Air Force and was in Washington state for training in November when they got the call.
“He said he'd gone into Canada to a friend's birthday party and he had wrecked the rental car that he was driving,” Sally Beaver said.
He told them he needed $4,000 for damage to the car.
He told them to go to Target in Leesburg and get $1,000 gift cards.
“When he called back again, he wanted the numbers off the back of them,” Sally Beaver said.
Later that afternoon they got another call asking for more money to pay for the damaged guardrail.
“To the tune of $5,500 this time,” Sally Beaver said.
The caller sent them to a Giant store in Leesburg and told them to ask for a specific employee and said she was holding 11 iTune gift cards at $500 each. They had apparently called ahead and put the cards on hold.
The next morning, yet another call. This time, it was for $2,000 for another person involved in the crash. They made another trip to Target to buy more gift cards.
When they got a call the next day, they'd had it.
“And that’s when I said, ‘J.R., we have reached the limit. We have no more money, so now you have to call your dad,’” Sally Beaver said.
They discovered they'd been conned when they called to check on him the following week and he had no idea what they were talking about.
“There was never ever one time that I thought that it was someone else,” Sally Beaver said. “But looking back, there probably were times that we should have asked other questions.”
“Even when he said that his cellphone had gone dead and he didn’t have no way of charging it, probably should have tried calling it, anyway,” John Beaver said.
What concerns the Beavers most is how much information the caller had about the family, like their nicknames.
The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is investigating.
Target and Giant each said they are committed to protecting their customers and they train employees to watch out for their guests' safety and security.