Sometimes you need to push the hustler. That's exactly what her 73-year-old grandmother, Jean, did when someone tried to swindle her out of $8,000. While she was at her home on Long Island, she received a call from someone claiming to be her grandson. He said she was calling from jail because she had been arrested for drunk driving. Her grandson needed this money to pay her bail. What's the big problem? Jean's grandchildren are too young to drive. She quickly realised it was a hoax and decided to turn the tables on her. ``I knew he was a real cheater.'' ``I knew he wouldn't cheat,'' Jean recalls. So Jean decided to play along as well.
"I received several calls, including one from someone claiming to be my grandson's lawyer. They also reiterated the $8,000 bail required. I told him I had money at home and thought he wouldn't fall for it. Well, he was hooked, line and sinker," Jean said.
The call eventually led to someone who appeared to be a bail bondsman coming to his home to collect the money. But that was the setup. Shortly after Jean handed him an envelope filled with paper towels, she attacked the man as police arrived. This was all thanks to Jean's quick action after dealing with a scammer for the first time. While answering her phone, she sent a text message to her daughter and her best friend. They both work at a 911 call centre. They told the police what was happening, and two officers arrived at Jean's home and eventually arrested the suspect.
The type of scam that Jean stopped is a widespread scam that targets seniors. Scammers focus on elderly people, posing as technical support employees or their IRS. They are also successful. The FBI released a 2020 report revealing that people over the age of 60 lost nearly $1 billion to elder fraud schemes. Jean hopes her story of deceiving a scammer will serve as a "cautionary tale" for others. "I feel like I've gotten myself into trouble," she explained. "And as you say, I feel like so many people fall for this and only find out about it after they've lost $8,000."