This educated worldly couple was scammed.
What happened to them can happen to you.
Don and Carol (seen here with their daughter) are retired professionals. They travel worldwide to help make lives better for those less fortunate. Because they love their grandchildren enough to help them out of a bad situation when time is of the essence, they were recently scammed.
Instead of feeling embarrassed, they share their hard lesson with us. When you avert being scammed, say, “Thank YOU, Don and Carol.”
We want to let all of you know that a scam can happen to you, in any manner.
It happened to us, and we thought it couldn’t happen to us!
Here is their story as told by Don (slightly edited):
We received a call on a weekday morning. I answered the phone.
The person said, “This is [grandson's name].”
I asked, “Who?”
He said, “You know, your oldest grandson.”
I said, “This doesn’t sound like you.”
And our “grandson” replied, “I have a cold. I was at a party and drank too much. On the way home, a person pulled out in front of me and I hit him. I was at fault since I hit him from behind. It all resulted in damage of $2,400.”
I asked, “Where are you, now?” and he didn’t answer the question. (I thought that he was ashamed to say.)
He said, “I’ll let the public defender explain it all to you – hold on the line.”
We held the line and then another person came on, who identified himself as David Mathers, Public Defender. He said that [our grandson] was involved in an accident and his blood alcohol level was .086, slightly above the legal limit of .080%. Mathers said that since the level was quite low–although above the legal limit–he could keep it from appearing on his record if the $2,400 was paid right away. He said he had already contacted [grandson's] insurance company and they will pay for the damages. He said the driver of the other car was from a foreign country. He was here on business using a rental car and was leaving this morning.
The “Public Defender” gave us step-by-step directions as to how to send a MoneyGram to the other party (who was in Quito, Ecuador) – and he was ready to give us the addresses of nearby places (including Walmart) where we could send a MoneyGram, when my wife said she already knew where the nearest Walmart was located.
He told us to call back (he gave us a phone number) with the eight-digit MoneyGram number to confirm that the money had been sent, and then he would call us right back. He pointed out that the money had to be cash. He emphasized that this all had to occur within four hours.
So my wife went to the bank, drew out the cash, went to the nearest Walmart, got and sent the MoneyGram, got the receipt with the eight-digit number, and called back with the reference number.
He never called back (of course, as we now know), [grandson] never called to let us know he had been released (of course).
I grumped and griped about it; I couldn’t sleep, so I got up, and looked in the phone book to find out where the area code (403) was located and found out that it was in Alberta, Canada. Then it hit me – WE’VE BEEN SCAMMED!
I called the sheriff’s station, and a deputy came to our house and took our report. He asked several questions, and wanted verification from [name], so we called our grandson this morning, in the presence of the deputy – who also spoke with our grandson. The deputy said there is little the sheriff can do, since the locations are out of this country, but at least it adds to their database.
In retrospect, we now realize that “our grandson” never used the loving term that all of our grandkids use for us. [Who would think of this when pressured to help in a short period of time?]
In retrospect, we should have asked a few questions. [Hindsight always brings the wisdom that seems fleeting when one's trying to do the right thing.]
How did they get [grandson's] name?
How did they know that we were his grandparents?
How did they get our name and phone number?
How did they know that he is our oldest grandson?
Thank YOU, Don and Carol for your gift of knowledge despite your loss.
For a related article, read Elder Abuse Hits Home