Grandparent scammers completed a successful pre-Christmas sweep through central Iowa, stealing tens of thousands of dollars from at least at least two elderly couples. The Story County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada, Iowa, reported a couple there lost $16,000 on Dec. 17. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Knoxville, Iowa, reported a couple there lost $20,000 the same day.

In both cases, the crooks used the same method to deceive their victims. The victims received highly emotional, but very brief, phone calls from imposters posing as their grandchildren needing bond money to get out of jail after an automobile accident.