And the Scams Go On
By M. Smith
This week I found myself scammed. I thought I was reasonably savvy about such things. Usually I don’t even answer the phone in my house unless I know the caller is known. As we are planning a trip to Quebec City in the near future, I answered a call identified as “Quebec” thinking it might be related to these plans. When I answered, a young man said, “Hi grandmommy.” I have a grandson who recently moved from his parents’ home and he calls me grandmommy, so my response was, “Hi, honey. How are you doing?” He replied that he wasn’t doing that well. He had strep throat, had seen a doctor and was on antibiotics. Much like any grandmother, I told him that even when he was feeling better to be sure to finish the antibiotics. Then, with a lowered voice, he said that he had something to tell me, but I must promise not to tell his parents. He proceeded to tell me he had been at a party and gotten a ride home with a friend he had only known for a short time. They were stopped for speeding – the car was searched and they found drugs. So, he was in jail and needed to post bond in the thousands so it would not go on his record. At this point, I insisted that he call his parents. Suddenly we were disconnected. Worrying that he was allowed only one call the picture that came to mind was him sick and in jail.
Not sure how to proceed with the information, I called a bond guy who could track what had happened. He found that my grandson neither incarcerated nor had any bail been posted. Next was to contact my daughter. She called her son who had been at work all day and did not have a strep throat.
How had the caller gotten my name? He sounded much like my grandson and although I was a bit leery, it had just enough plausibility to be believable. Perhaps the source was from a list of senior citizens from either our upcoming trip or a previous trip to Quebec. This was a new one for me. I’m well aware that one does not give any personal information to anyone on the phone (IRS, bank, etc.). And like many of us, we know not to respond to the friend in Europe who lost a passport and needs money wired immediately. (Have you noticed they forget to include an address for where to send the money?)
Although not financially scammed, as I had no intention of sending money, I was definitely emotionally scammed. And to add to the drama of the day, I called the bond guy to ask for his address since it was not listed in the directory. We both agreed it had been a scam, but I would like to send him something as a thank-you for the calls he had made. He asked how much did I plan to send. About $50. Interestingly, he said he usually charges $150 for the work he had done, but he would go half way at $75. Now I’m feeling not only scammed but now being conned! When I reported this to the police, the officer said I did not owe this guy a thing. The bond guy had told me at the beginning that his fee was 10 percent of whatever bail he put up. So that was really what he was working for. So this guy lost my $50 goodwill money. This was not my day!