LENOIR CITY, Tenn. — A Loudon County woman is warning consumers about scams after she said she stopped an elderly woman from falling for one.
Experts call it the "grandma scam," and have said it's becoming more common and costs consumers millions of dollars.
Jeri Batsford said she was in Home Depot in Lenoir City on Tuesday when something didn't seem right. Batsford said an elderly woman was about to buy two $1000 gift cards. Batsford said the woman told her she got a phone call from her granddaughter in jail in Roanoke, Va.
"And so I told her I thought she was being scammed," Batsford said.
Batsford said the woman seemed confused, so Batsford called the police to talk the woman out of her decision.
"It's always, 'I need money, I need help,'" Tony Binkey with the Better Business Bureau of East Tennessee said.
The Federal Trade Commission said $41 million was lost to scams in the fiscal year 2018, including $18 million in Tennessee, making it the fifth most vulnerable state to scams.
"Do anything to verify the story," Binkley said. "And never go to a place and buy a card and scratch the numbers off and give those numbers to anybody."
"That sounds like my grandma because my grandma would drive across the country to help her grandkids out," Batsford said. "I was not going to let her buy those cards."
Batsford said she was a victim of a scam a few years ago.
"I will tell you, from being a victim, it's not fun, it hurts you," Batsford said.
Lenoir City Police said she did the right thing.
Home Depot in Lenoir City has signs near their registers that warn people about scams.
A spokesperson for Home Depot said they do work with law enforcement and organizations if their customers get scammed, and said employees go through training for fraud.