As I was deciding what I wanted to blog about today, I realized that many folks my age are care receivers and not caregivers. Because I’m in that vulnerable cohort, I often get those phonecalls that begin, “Hi Grandma.” A sob story seeking money as the solution soon follows. At least, that’s what I can only assume because, after that greeting, I hang up.
One day, I decided not to hang up.
“Hi Grandma,” he said, sounding pitiful.
“Do people really fall for this?” I asked.
It shocked me he answered as he did. “You’d be amazed.”
“Why do you do this?”
“I make lots of money. I spend a lot of it too.”
He actually sounded pleasant, so I pressed his honesty and asked if he had any other skills he could use to make a living.
“It’s all I know.” How sad! I felt sorry for him.
“Would you like to learn to do something else?”
I spoke to him as I had to the previous scammer. After a bit of conversation he said, “Oh, you’re good. Look outside your window.”
Although I knew he was getting a little retribution by trying to scare me, I actually looked.
Another time, I said, “Oh, you must be one of my thousand grandsons.”
He hung up.
I have yet to listen to their sob story. (Perhaps, “I’m in jail and need to be bailed out.”) Then I would respond, “Well, no wonder. It’s about time you learned your lesson.”
Sharing my story
The elderly easily fall prey to these scammers, as my first example showed. Some are lonely and really believe their grandchild needs help. Many of an earlier generation are too trusting because, frankly, most people did not try this stuff in their day. Perhaps telling your elderly family member about my conversations will encourage them to hang up immediately, without fearing they are leaving their grandchild in the lurch.
I wonder what the response would be if I were to ask my “grandson” what his name was. I’d like to try that sometime, but it seems I’ve not gotten these kinds of calls in a while. Hmmmmmm.
I took it all the way to where his attorney called back to get my credit
card number one time. Then I told him I was with the FBI and he hung up!
WOW! You’re braver than I. Good for you.I hope it scared him.
My sister actually went to her bank to withdraw $5000 when a passing thought encouraged her to phone her grandson directly. Of course he told her he wasn’t in jail! These messages appeal to our fearful, impulsive instincts and that is where we need to slow down and apply logic. This is not easily done….
Thank goodness she checked with her grandson!
Another scam that elders fall for easily is the pop-up on their computer screen that says” You’ve been hacked. Click here to clean your computer and be safe again” Then of course some fee is required to “clean” your computer, etc., etc. One friend has fallen for this multiple times, perhaps due to memory issues or maybe just her simple trust which borders on gullibility. We continue to rescue her whenever this happens. How may others have no friends who can help when they get scammed?
Thanks for pointing that out, Jerry. Computer scams are really tricky to spot….and scary.
Lucky for her you’re a wizz and tech savvy as a webmaster!