First Offense: Phoenix, Arizona - August 2008
Mamaw was watching television, most likely with the newspaper folded in such a way in front of her on the coffee table that she could glance at it and be reminded of the date. She likes to know what day it is. The phone rang. Upon answering, she heard the voice of a young man claiming to be her grandson.
"Hi! It's your grandson!" She was naturally pleased, because it's rare that her adult grandsons call her.
"Is this Patrick?" she asked. The young man said he was. He told her he was in some trouble. Please don't tell any other family members. He was in jail and needed a few thousand dollars to post bail.
The story didn't jive for Mamaw. Not because she didn't think it was Patrick, but because she didn't think he should be calling her for money. Mamaw told Dad later in the day about the call and said she didn't think it was a good idea to send money. Dad listened to Mamaw's story and quickly concluded she hadn't been called by one of her grandsons. He explained what had likely happened to her.
Second Offense: Bellevue, Washington - March 2009
Chris' grandmother received a call from a young man claiming to be her "favorite grandson". She, like Mamaw, was delighted to hear from one of her adult grandsons. She assumed it was Chris. [He's obviously her favorite.] The young man said he was in some trouble. He also requested other family members not be alerted because he was embarrassed and would explain later. He needed $3700 wired immediately - he was in jail in Vancouver.
Chris' grandmother told his grandfather about the phone call and together they made a trip to the bank. They withdrew money and prepared to wire funds to their favorite grandson.
Chris' grandfather became suspicious while talking with the young man as they were getting specific wiring instructions. He began asking the favorite grandson questions to confirm his identity. The perp cracked when Grandpa Ross asked, "What's your dog's name?" He hung-up.
Grandma and Grandpa Ross are 84 and 85 years old.
- Grandchildren of Mamaw - If you're in trouble, Mamaw might send you a file in a cake to spring you from the clink. Don't hold your breath for cash. Go to Plan B.
- Grandchildren of Grandma and Grandpa Ross - Ensure you have Grandma and Grandpa's contact information on your person at all times. Specific wiring instructions for your financial institution would be helpful also.
- Favorites - My brother Mallory Joe is NOT Mamaw's favorite grandson. Chris IS the favorite grandson of Grandma and Grandpa Ross.
- Mary [our dog] - She gets extra treats this month for saving Grandma and Grandpa money. She really is like Lassie...
Seriously, warn the older people in your life about this scam.