Maryville authorities want people in Tennessee to be aware of a recurring phone scam. Scammers call people saying they are a relative that went out of town, got into car trouble and need money.
"It is a scam that happens, I would say, pretty much all the time," said Maryville Police Department Deputy Chief Greg Cooke.
Cooke says while spring break can make scammers' stories more realistic, this can happen anytime.
It happened to Thelma Waters.
"It sounded exactly like my granddaughter and I said 'yes baby?'" Waters said.
The scammer told Waters she was in Miami, got drunk, totaled a rental car and needed $1,700.
There were so many thoughts going through my head," Waters said. "She said you promise you won't tell anybody and I said no..."
Luckily, her daughter Jama was sitting next to her at the time and told her to hang up the phone.
"She had a friend that got the same call last week, so it's out there and people need to be aware of it," Jama said.
Maryville police say the best way to keep this from happening is to spread awareness. After that, it is important to make sure you know the person calling is your family member. If you're not sure, call your other family members and local police department.
"Verify is this a legit organization I'm sending money to or is this a scam?" Cooke said.