EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- Linda Tramel's grandson, Tyler, is serving his country in Iraq. Much of the 69-year-old widow's life involves keeping up with his adventures which is why a recent phone call made her heart sink.
"He was found in a vehicle containing drugs," she said. "He was being charged with possession."
A man claiming to be an attorney at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico told Tramel that her grandson used a few days off to travel there and got arrested. Tramel was told to wire $2,600 in order to make the charge go away.
The "lawyer" went on to say, "I will make sure you speak with him before he leaves but you need to do this right now ma'am we don't have that much time."
After urgently wiring the money, Tyler's grandmother went to her computer on Facebook. He replied he was fine and on a mission with his unit near Baghdad
In fact, the area code on the calls Tramel received showed they originated from Montreal, not Mexico City. To make matters worse, the calls keep coming.
The Secret Service said social media sites can put military families at risk for these type of scams. If a large deployment occurs and it makes the news then obviously criminals may realize that people are gone. That may be easier to target the families that use the social media sites to communicate overseas. Those sites harvest the most information.
Tramel doesn't expect to ever get her money back. But she wants to protect others who are cut-off from sons and daughters overseas.
"I'm a grandmother," she said. "I hyperventilated. I thought I was going to have a heart attack I couldn't breathe and all I could think of is not letting my grandson remain in a Mexican jail for a month."