Phone Scams: Why People Keep Falling for the Oldest Scam in the Book

Convicted Con Artist Reveals How He Scammed Others
6:40 | 11/21/14

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Transcript for Phone Scams: Why People Keep Falling for the Oldest Scam in the Book
I was at my office and work and I got a phone call myself. He says you have a daughter a son I sit yes have a daughter and he it was 11 AM when you win and Betty Anne's world was shattered. With a single phone call. And they said oh boy there's been a terrible accident for car accident and sex. Everyone's unconscious and handed him so long enough for reaching out he said what kind of -- she had. I'm excited to key and he goes oh yeah this G-8 year terrified they jumped into the road car and headed out desperate to get to their daughter. I'm thinking my daughter's slaying a highway somewhere unconscious. In this series parts of the notion why us and they wouldn't say at direct you know exactly where she was. And then this story took an unexpected but even more frightening turn. Finalists let's look you've got to tell me exactly way you are what the hell is going on. That his whole demeanor changed. And he was like you wait him in connection with white is gonna hang we have our. At gunpoint and Woodland Hills Harvey don't give me 17100 dollars and I never felt terror before my life and this was absolutely Tara happened your child's life in your hands. But little did Lu Wei an and Betty and know that they were on the receiving end of the latest technique in an otherwise old. Go tech phone scam con artists claiming to have kidnapped a loved one can make you. Pay up to 45 million Americans lose more than two and a half. Billion dollars to fraud each year hand bone scans which account for a big chunk of that has been surprisingly successful for decades. Maybe they want you to invest in in the boiler gas deal or gold coins maybe you won the lottery or maybe it's someone posing as an IRS agents saying you owe back taxes. Whatever the this these con artists are like Tom Knox sales people and there were extremely up. Baghdad and to crush or that killed is emotionally driven it's not logic. Meat will play gimme a convicted con are so these are dangerous people you were on the phone with. Okay make no bones about it I am a dangerous person on the telephone. If I choose to be fraudulent in my practices. There is nothing that's gonna stop me from taking lots of money from people period the end I don't know how people's would have died during this kind of thing. For Doug should bell of the AARP is interviewed Jimmy and more than a dozen like him trying to understand how they're able to pull office scam most of us think we'd never fall for. We always ask him the same question what is your central strategy for defrauding people they also have the same thing. Get them under the ether. Under the either eat there is a heightened emotional state we're no longer thinking rationally which are reacting emotionally. And this explains why so many people actually fallen for this stuff. How could somebody that's mark office it's not their intellect good thing games when they make that decision it's the emotion. Emotion like claiming a child has been kidnapped. Looking back. I don't think I could have done anything different. Not at all because when they do that TU they they pulled right at your emotions and you were off and youth terrorized and needs to whatever you'll do anything. Listen to this and just imagine your own mother or grandmother on the other end of the line. And I don't want it doesn't there McCain. Art still ahead Q what part of Belgrade. Black white noise slapped it by now okay. O'Leary have. Any kind of fraud scam you can possibly imagine she knows responders piles of recordings from state attorney general investigations into phone scam. Sort of a top forty collection for criminals with no conscience there's no sort. People still call it many filled with abusive and demeaning language even threats select. You don't ever ever be any. You're going to hear graceful loser. Big loser. What right thing here terrible. There are thousands of people out there who are suffering in silence like this. But for a law enforcement tracking down this cameras can be challenging it's easy to avoid detection and a lot of times people are embarrassed reports of which makes it an even bigger problem prevention is the key and and the smarter consumers are. The more likely they can prevent this. The New York attorney general's office is currently taking on the grand parent phone scam. We're grandparent gets a call supposedly. Among ran child in trouble. We're here to do today is to enlist you guys these students. To be brought buyers the EG's office is reaching out to teenage grandkids and wants to be. The con artists who pretends to be the grounds to try to get them to warn their families about the phony phone calls that could come their way. What it was. Gonna listen to help investigators say the rub against crooks who have no problem tugging at a person's emotions her to rip them off. I think that there is. Really no sense of propriety about what these people do anymore it's should step. To get even more upset this is all ready for that are. Betty Anne and Alou and say they were lucky to be together when that phony kidnapping her all female. While the UN was on the phone with the scammer steady hand frantically tried to call their daughter. First I called. And there was no answer. I called again I said where are you and finally get a text back on new class what's wrong I was in the middle loves a math class. About take a test. I think county aquatic. And he we have a password then right we know what that is code test words when she took it then once signed new. It was a scam hung up and it's. She was my French mean I got upset and I poultry because unlike your willingness to my mother yeah. Aren't you messed up my mother this is my not my family. They filed a police report but doubt that callers will ever be caught which is why this does. Not to use their full name. And I would thank you again he isn't happening in May. And I'm to Smart that. It got people they needed. And used against. Investigator's report even if you keep your doors locked and passed secure crooks want to end your life and sometimes. They're just a phone call away. Happy warmth and things and that's mark thank god I'm Neal Karlinsky for Nightline. In Seattle.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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