Since the pandemic started, scammers have started targeting senior citizens in the United States. According to the FBI, elderly victims were defrauded by $1 billion in 2020, an increase from $300 million the year before.
More elderly people individuals are using social media to stay in touch with loved ones when they are alone, which exposes them to scammers.
In an FBI report, “The combination of online shopping and social media creates easy venues for scammers to post false advertisements. Many victims report ordering items from links advertised on social media and either receiving nothing at all or receiving something completely unlike the advertised item.”
However, scammers also targeted a 73-year-old Seaford woman—who asked to only be identified by her first name, Jean of Long Island, New York, although they had no idea who they were dealing with.
Now, the old woman decided to have some fun after she received a bizarre phone call from a man claiming to be her grandson.
On a Thursday morning, Jean was at her home when she received a phone call from a man claiming to be her grandson. He stated that he was in a car accident and had gotten arrested for drunk driving. He needed to be bailed out of jail in posting an $8,000 bond, the “grandson” claimed.
The problem was that Jean, the retired 911 dispatcher quickly caught the lie; she doesn’t have a grandson old enough to drive. Living in Seaford, New York, Jean is a grandmother to seven adorable kids. She realized she was being conned at that point.
“He starts calling me “grandma,” and then I’m like, I don’t have a grandson that drives, so I knew it was a scam,” Jean said.
Jean decided to play along with the swindler despite her family’s objections. The con man took the lie even further by hiring another man to pose as Jean’s fake grandson’s lawyer, claiming to be a bail bondsman. The showed up at her door, Jean then handed him an envelope containing paper towels.
Meanwhile, the grandma of seven also called the police.
The offender was revealed to be New Yorker Joshua Gomez. He was accused of third-degree attempted grand larceny.
According to Jean, she learned how to handle situations like this during her training for 911. “You have to think quick. You have to be able to multitask. I had to come up with why I had money in the house,” she explained.
Local authorities are using the incident to remind citizens that scams against American seniors are happening now more than ever. Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, “Speak to your families. Speak to your neighbors. Visit those that are vulnerable. Let them know, don’t listen to these scams. These individuals sit at home and have nothing else to do but think of a way to take advantage of our elderly.”
Watch the video below for more details: