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The Old Grandparents Telephone Scam

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Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 2:25 pm

My wife Bonnie and I received a phone call mid-morning on Monday, Oct. 7. Bonnie answered the phone. It was from a woman purporting to be our granddaughter, saying she had been arrested last night and could we post her bail of $9,000.

The voice sounded like that of our granddaughter, but somewhat stressed, understandably. Bonnie responded with our granddaughters name: “Is that you, Mary?”

The woman, of course, responded that she was indeed Mary and told us the sad tale of her arrest and incarceration. She also said that she wanted to keep this quiet from other family members and not to tell anyone. Some of the details sounded a bit fishy, but plausible.

We said we would post her bail, and at that time, she gave the phone to a man, the supposed bail bondsmen. He in turn gave us the name and address of a person living in Florida, along with his Bank of America routing and account number, also in Florida, who which we should transfer the money. He also gave us his name and phone number. He said that we should not tell anyone about this, and asked what I would say if asked what the money was for.

I responded that “It was to post bail.”

He said not to say that and again asked what I would say if asked.

So I responded, “To pay a debt,” and he said OK.

Then I asked him where his area code was from as I didn’t recognize it, and he said it was a special code so he could make international phone calls. (Actually is was from Montreal, Canada.) He also asked that we call him with the money transfer number as soon as the transaction was completed.

When we hung up, Bonnie immediately called our granddaughter’s cell phone and left a message to call us right away. After a few minutes, she called back, said that she had been in class and couldn’t answer the phone.

No, she had not been arrested or anything like that. So It was off to the police department and our local branch of Bank of America where we reported the scam and gave all the names, addresses and bank information given to us by the supposed bail bondsmen.

The back story here is that our granddaughter’s backpack had been stolen in Mexico over the summer, when the family was there vacationing. So someone got personal information on her and other family members. What we should have done first, was ask the supposed granddaughter for her full name, address, date of birth or any other confirmative information, etc. That would have probably ended the conversation.

But as it turned out, the scammers names and account numbers ware with the law enforcement, who can now shut them down.

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