A gang of phone scammers got more than they bargained for when they tried to con a savvy grandma out of $8000. They really were not expecting the elderly lady to be one step ahead!
Jean is a 73-year-old grandma from Seaford who, on January 20, received a mysterious phone call from a man who claimed to be her grandson.
The caller said he had been arrested for a drunk driving offence and needed her to help to bail him out of jail.
But Jean instantly suspected a rat. While she did have a grandson, she knew he couldn’t drive and that the caller was laying the ground-work for a money-grabbing con:
“I knew he was a real scammer,” said the crafty ex-911 dispatcher.
“I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me”.
Next, a man pretending to be her grandson’s attorney called and told her that the bail had been set at $8000. He asked Jean if she would be prepared to pay the fee there and then.
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Thinking on her feet and determined to play the con-men at their own game, Jean decided to pretend to have been taken in by the piece of theatre and courageously suggested the ‘bondsman’ could pick the cash up at her house:
“I told him I had the money in the house and I figured he’s not going to fall for that,”she explained to the cops later.
“Well, he fell for that—hook, line, and sinker.”
Before the crooks could show up at her home, the brave woman called the cops so they could lie in wait for the brazen scammers to arrive.
In preparation, Jean stuffed an envelope with paper towels to pass as the money.
Her doorbell security camera showed a man arrive at the door wearing a mask and a trench-coat.
Officers waited for the exchange to take place before pouncing on the unsuspecting thug, wrestling him to the ground and arresting him.
In a press release, the Nassau County Police Department identified the suspect as Joshua Estrella Gomez, 28 who they charged with attempted grand larceny of the third degree.
Richard Lebrub, a spokesman for the department warned against the growing prevalence of scams targeting elderly people and advised the public not to act impulsively, even if the individual asking for payment seems to be rushing you:
“Resist the pressure to act immediately,” he advised.
“Legitimate business will give you time to make payments.”
“Never pay with gift cards or wire money to an unknown person or business,” he added.
According to Truecaller, 1 in 3 Americans said they had been a victim of a phone scam in 2021, with an average reported loss of $502 per person.
In total, Americans lost a staggering $29.8 billion to phone scammers last year alone.
Jean said she just feels happy to have got one up on the crooks:
“I feel like gotcha, and I feel like, like you say, so many people fall for this and you only hear about it on the other end after they’ve lost $8,000.”