AUGUSTA – Something just didn’t feel right, but still, this was her grandson. Pat Desrochers would do anything for her grandson.

“Hi, Grandma,” the concerned voice on the line said. “This is Jonah.”

Desrochers’ heart sank, and her mind raced, as the young man explained he had been stopped by police in Toronto. He was arrested after police found marijuana on a passenger.

The young man was calling for Desrochers’ help. The police would tell her what to do.

“Don’t tell my parents because I want to tell them myself,” he said before handing off the phone. “I hope you can help me out, Grandma.”

A “sergeant” then got on, saying they were sending Jonah to a federal lockup.

“He said Jonah was not yet charged with a crime, but they had to stay at the police station overnight. And that, in order to let them go in the morning, Jonah would have to post bail,” Desrochers recalled. “I asked, ‘How much?’ He said, ‘Right now, it’s $3,000.’ “

Desrochers made plans to send the money the next morning — unaware that her grandson was safe in his home in Vermont.

“There were so many clues afterwards, as I thought about it, that I should have caught on to,” Desrochers said. “But you don’t think of things when something like this hits you right out of the blue. I love my grandson dearly. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for him.”

Despite efforts by police and consumer advocates, reports of scams of all kinds have continued to increase in a sputtering economy.

The number of victims, particularly among the elderly population, continues to swell.

“It’s the same (scams) reaching out to new people,” Augusta Police Chief Robert Gregoire said. “They want you to purchase something, or they send you a check and ask you to send a portion back. They might have a different plot, but it’s basically the same format.”

Augusta police have compiled a list of nearly a dozen scams that have been thrust upon city residents recently.

Many are familiar — such as an offer to send millions in lottery winnings for a few thousand dollars in processing fees.

Some originate in a foreign country, but there also are scammers who are Maine-born and -bred, such as bogus meat salesman and contractors.

“People fall victim to these on a regular basis,” Gregoire said.

There are tricks to a successful scam, such as adding facts you think only family members or friends would know.

Desrochers, 71, was hooked when the young man pretending to be her grandson called her by the right name.

“Why he knew to call me ‘Grandma’ is beyond me,” she said. “A lot of grandmas go by other names.”

There were other false reassurances, as well, not the least of which was using the name of Desrochers’ real grandson. The scammer’s details mirrored circumstances that had occurred in a real police run-in Jonah had had some time ago.

And Jonah is the kind of person, Desrochers said, who would want to tell his parents in person.

“It was perfectly plausible,” Desrochers said. “It sounded just like my grandson on the phone.”

Still, there were oddities that made Desrochers uneasy, particularly “Sgt. Stone’s” demand that Desrochers wire the money overseas.

The next morning, Desrochers called for a taxi to take her to the store to send the money, but a snowstorm kept the taxi from getting up Desrochers’ street.

“I said, ‘God, it’s in your hands,’ ” Desrochers said. “That was it. I came back in the house.”

Desrochers called “Sgt. Stone” and told him that she couldn’t get the money. He gave her until the next morning.

Desrochers talked to her neighbor and asked him to take her to Western Union.

“He said, ‘No, this is a scam,’ ” Desrochers said.

The neighbor called Augusta police, who contacted police in Toronto. Nobody there had ever heard of Jonah.

“Toronto called me the next morning and asked when I was sending the money,” Desrochers said. “I said, ‘I’m not, you’re a crook and a shyster. My grandson is home.’ He said, ‘You broke your oath and talked to your grandson?’ “

Augusta police Sgt. Christopher Shaw, who helped Desrochers, suggested contacting police any time you are asked to send money to someone who is unfamiliar.

“Don’t hand money to anybody until you know for a fact what you’re giving money toward is real,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt to make a quick call to the police department.”

People also need to be aware of anyone offering a big payday in exchange for sending a small fee.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Gregoire said. “People aren’t giving away free money.”

Desrochers said she has never been scammed before, and is thankful she didn’t go through with her plans this time.

“My advice is don’t believe it,” she said. “Don’t believe it no matter how real it seems.”