This past week I came within a hair’s breadth of being Scammed and taken for $5,000.00, in CASH. I shiver when I think of it, because, it happens often, all around us, and to ordinary people like me. The kind who hesitate to let others know how stupid we had been to be fooled. And so, I write about it, and, just maybe, save someone from being ‘ taken’,
My saga began at 7:30 one morning, and still half asleep, answered the phone and a muffled voice said “Grandma, this is George, (fake name) your grandson”. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, and he repeated it, but in my half stupor and his muffled voice, I couldn’t make sense of what was happening.
But getting more awake by the second, I then heard a clear male voice ask if I were Ethel Bradford, and, when I said Yes, told me that George and two pals had gone to Toledo, to attend a friend’s wedding, and after the party, they had gone downtown, to look around, drank more wine, and then got in an accident. George, as the driver was in jail, with a DUI charge, and had a broken nose which accounted for his muffled speech..
George pled with me to keep it all a secret, but if I could, please, quickly send him the money, in cash, so he could get out of jail, and come home, AND NO ONE but the two of us would know of it, and there would be no record in Salt Lake of his arrest. and so, not on his ‘record’. Oh.
Of course I wanted to help him, but had no idea of how to quickly get cash half way across the country, but the ‘Attorney’ who was helping George knew and immediately began telling me the ‘how’ of it all.
I still wasn’t really awake, and was in shock to think of George in trouble, hurt, in jail, and needing money so that his attorney could do this and that, before other attorneys got to his case and did such and such. It made no sense to me, and it was then I knew I was ‘in over my head’ and needed help.
I explained to the two men that I would have to get George’s Uncle in on the plans for I didn’t understand what it was beginning to entail. The attorney didn’t like what I was saying, but they needed the money, fast, and so I called my son, got his OK to help, and then gave him the phone number to reach George.
And he did, and he saved the day for me. My son was more awake and more aware of life’s oddities, than I was or still am. He talked to the attorney and got the details of what, who, when and where and then casually mentioned he had best call the police here to get their aid in moving the $5,000 in cash across the country, and, what do you know, George’s Attorney there in Toledo, hung up the phone and the phone number we had been using, was, of course, suddenly no longer in service. And that one word, ‘police’ did the trick and brought to an end to the Scamming.
Another quick phone call told us that George was in the midst of his routine morning ablutions, almost ready for breakfast, had never been and had no plans to be in Toledo. Yeah and his nose wasn’t broken, either.
So, I learned professional Scammers are sharp. And smart. They know who will be the most vulnerable, and at the top of the list are, a female, older widow, with grandchildren, and who just might have a ‘buck of two’ stashed away, The people of this category are also said to be more likely to panic, and so, with no thought, of talking and telling anyone else. No one, that is, until she finds her beloved one had never been in trouble and that she had been Scammed. Royally Scammed.
When the hubbub was over, I called the local police, just to report what had happened, and the fellow was kind, rather bored, and not a bit surprised. Said it happens all the time, and they, the police, seldom know of it until the money is sent, the one with the supposed problem never did have a problem. And not a clue as to who did it, for Cell phones leave no trail, even where the call had come from.
Yes, I had his phone number, but it is so easy to buy a cheap phone, use it, and then with an utterly untraceable phone number, toss the cheap device into the garbage, and buy a new one to pull the next scam.
And . . . if it does happen to you, . . of course you’ll panic, that’s human nature when one you love is in trouble, but take a few moments to ask a few questions, and seek help, which is exactly what the Scammer does not want. and be as lucky or blessed as I was when you find your ‘George’ to be safe at home and your money still the bank.
Just remember, with untraceable phones, Scamming happens more often than it once did. Good luck and remember it does happen to ordinary people like me . . . but hopefully not to you.
Yeah, it’s been over a week now and I think I ‘m getting over the scare, the panic and the anger that followed .
So, see ya next week, and be careful and don’t let yourself be scammed.