Yesterday someone called my grandmother’s number and asked for Grandma.
In my family, we have a nickname for our grandmother. No one calls her Grandma.
My aunt, who answered the phone, said, “I think you have the wrong number.”
They guy asked, “Is this Henrietta?”
That happens to be my grandma’s first name, so my aunt asked, “Who is this?”
The guy replied, “It’s your grandson.”
My aunt knows all my cousins/her mother’s grandsons and this wasn’t one of them, so she played along. “Which one?”
The guy said, “Guess.”
So my aunt made up a name. “Peter?”
They guy said, “Yes, Grandma it’s Peter.”
My aunt was cleaning and decided to see where he went with this. “Oh Peter how are you?”
“Well, Grandma, my friend won a free trip to the Dominican Republic and took me with him.” He goes on for a bit about the trip.
“That’s wonderful, Peter,” my aunt said. “Are you having fun?”
The guy/scammer said, “That’s why I’m calling. My friend’s car got pulled over and there was marijuana inside. Now I’m in jail.” He breaks down in tears.
“Peter, that’s terrible. You’re parents must be upset.”
“Grandma, I can’t tell my parents.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I need your help. Can you please send me some money for bail? I can put my lawyer on to talk to you right now.”
My aunt finished her chores at this point and said, “Well Peter, I don’t have a grandson so you’re not getting any money.”
The scammer calls her a stupid f*ing douche bag and hangs up.
It’s a spin on the old FB post or email of friend/family in foreign country in trouble. And they are targetting tech-unsavvy elderly people. Beyond criminal.
I talked to my grandmother about it and reminded her:
- If someone calls and asks you to guess who they are, always say a name that you don’t know. Never name people you do know. Don’t help the scammer.
- If someone impersonates a loved one in trouble, take down the information, but don’t send them money. Call your relatives/friends to confirm where they are.
- If they want you to wire money anywhere be suspicious.
- The Dominican Republic is not a typical vacation spot unless you’re into illicit activities.