Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve handled a couple of fraud details in which the victims were in their 80s. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a believer in respecting one’s elders and I know they are the “greatest generation” and all, but a larger group of gullible folks doesn’t exist. Here’s the scenario.
Gramma Moses gets a phone call from her “grandson”. GM says it sounded just like him (although he was crying). “Grandson” tells GM he is in county lockup in Buffalo, NY. Seems he and some buddies got picked up at the border coming back from Canada with a little Canadian Hippie Lettuce (credit: Bitterman) and now he needs some money for bail.
GM sends her long-suffering husband, Rumple-freaking-Stilskein, out straight away to the closest Western Union to send “Grandson” about $2800. After Rumple returns, another phone call. Seems that wasn’t enough money and “Grandson” forgot to mention he needed additional money for lawyer fees as well.
Well, family is family, right? Yup, Rumple goes back out and sends $2900. The following morning, one more phone call greets our intrepid elderly couple and $2500 more is sent. Did I forget to mention where they sent the money? Shame on me….Dublin, Ireland.
Now, I know I’m just a traffic dork and not super detective guy, but if “Grandson” is in the clink in Buffalo, NY, how is sending three large payments out of the country supposed to help out your deserving (*cough*) “Grandson”. Here’s another question…why not attempt to confirm the person is indeed your relation?
As it turns out, GM called “Grandson’s” cell phone, but he never answered. A few days later, they saw their Grandson, but no one brought up the money or the trip to jail. A couple days after that, they finally called him and asked him about his arrest in NY. Shockingly, he had no bloody clue what they were talking about. So, they’re out $8200. There’s no way to track the money, other than it got picked up in Ireland.
They even used cash, so there’s no protection for them there, either.
Here’s another example…I got a call from a nice old lady I’ll call Betty. Betty was ever so excited that she won a sweepstakes, but she felt a little hesitant because the person that told her of her winnings asked her to be at home at a specific time and have a check written for $450. Betty went on to explain she enters all kinds of sweepstakes and has never won so she didn’t know if this was sketchy or not.
Oh, and in order to enter the sweepstakes she had to send them a voided check. Gee, sketchy, you think? She was told her $450 would be refunded on top of the $2.5 million she won. *wink, wink*.
Her grandson (real one) got on the phone and he and I had a nice conversation about how Bettie needs to stop entering bullshit sweepstakes and how if she didn’t she’d make a excellent victim of a myriad of crimes.
I went to her house at the time the “sweepstakes” rep was supposed to show. Can you believe he never showed up? Crazy, right?
So, do me a favor, and have your grandparents over for a nice dinner and tell them how much you love and appreciate all the sacrifices they made for you and yours. Then tell them they’re suckers if they send off their money on what amounts to a whim or just a straight out scam. And tell them the seventeen emails they get everyday about how some Nigerian prince wants to send them $45,000,000.00, but needs $700.00 from you to pay his taxes is bullshit. And say, “bullshit” to them…it’ll get their attention.
You’ve been educated…carry on.