82-year-old New Jersey woman loses $8,000 in 'grandparent scam'

"This person is hysterical, crying on the phone, saying, 'I was in a car accident, I broke my nose and split my lip.'"

Trish Hartman Image
Saturday, October 8, 2022
82-year-old NJ woman loses $8,000 in 'grandparent scam'
Libby Maurer said she received a call from a person who said it was her grandson, but it ended up being a scam.

DEPTFORD TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- Libby Maurer, 82, of Deptford Twp., New Jersey said she was working on a puzzle in her kitchen on September 16 when her phone rang.

"And this person is hysterical, crying on the phone, saying, 'I was in a car accident, I broke my nose and split my lip,'" she said.

The distraught person claimed to be her grandson.

He told Maurer he was in custody for causing this car accident and needed $8,000 sent to a public defender in cash for his release.

So she drove to the bank.

She said her only priority was to help her grandson.

"My hand was shaking when I went to get the money out of the bank. My whole body was shaking," Maurer said.

When she got home, an alleged "courier" picked up the money, all while Libby was on the phone with the "public defender."

But Libby's supplemental oxygen threw a wrench into their plan.

The tubes wouldn't reach the end of the driveway.

"He said go to the curb and he'll open the window just hand it through the window. Well I didn't do that, the oxygen only went to the right out front so I stayed there," said Libby.

That's when her home surveillance cameras captured the exchange in front of the house, and one of the suspects, along with the vehicle.

Police say it was a 2009 to 2012 silver Hyundai Elantra Touring edition.

Later, Libby called her real grandson and realized it was all a scam.

She said a red flag she ignored: the scammer begged her not to tell anyone.

"Years ago I heard about this scam, but I was so emotional that I didn't think twice about anything, or question it. If I just made one telephone call," said Libby. "Somebody would've talked me down."

At first, Libby said she was embarrassed, but now she's angry and she doesn't want this to happen to others.

"I do believe in karma. I don't wish them any tragedy. But they're not going to enjoy that money," she said.

Police are still searching for the people who did this.

If anyone has any information on the vehicle or the suspect, contact Det. Maureen Packer at mpacker@deptford-nj.org or 856-845-6300 ext. 1352.