82-year-old widow is robbed of $700,000 in elaborate ‘grandparent scam’

Florida investigators ask Uber for ride records to help find the thieves who tricked Anna Nunn

Megan Sheets
Thursday 11 November 2021 20:47 GMT
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An 82-year-old Florida woman was robbed of more than $700,000 after she fell for a “grandparent scam”.

Scammers targeted Anna Nunn, a widow, over the summer by telling her that her granddaughter was in legal trouble and needed financial aid.

They convinced Ms Nunn to make multiple withdrawals from her bank and pass the bricks of cash to a courier in padded envelopes, according to court records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office is now asking Uber to turn over records for rides that originated at Ms Nunn’s home, which she said she didn’t arrange.

Investigators believe the records “will assist with providing information to who purchased the rideshares and where the victim’s funds actually went”, a detective wrote in a court filing.

The filing specifically seeks the name of the Uber account holder, credit card information and the history of pickups and drop-offs at various locations, the Times reported.

The sheriff’s office declined to clarify whether the rides were for couriers to come to the woman’s house to get the cash, citing an ongoing investigation.

An Uber spokesperson said the company is in contact with the sheriff’s office regarding the case. It is unclear if Uber intends to comply with the request for records.

The so-called “grandparent scam” began when Ms Nunn received a call from a young woman claiming to be her granddaughter who said she had been in a car accident and needed money to get out of jail.

A man who identified himself as the granddaughter’s lawyer then took the phone to add credibility to the story.

The pair convinced Ms Nunn to make 13 withdrawals from different BB&T Bank branches. Her attorney, Guy Burns, said the scammers’ story grew more and more elaborate for weeks before the final withdrawal of $100,000 drained her account completely.

Mr Burns said Ms Nunn was instructed to tell any bank staff who asked about the withdrawals to say they were for home improvements by contractors who preferred cash.

Ms Nunn filed a civil lawsuit in September against Truist Bank, which was created when BB&T merged with SunTrust. The suit alleges that the bank was negligent in allowing Ms Nunn to make the large and unusual withdrawals even after red flags were identified.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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