Tuesday afternoon, Bill was taking it easy at home when he got a
The voice was soft, “Like she was embarrassed,” said Bill, 83, of South Kitsap.
“Hi, grandpa,” the woman said. “I haven’t told anybody, but I’m in a little trouble.”
Bill’s ears perked up. “Oh? What’s the matter?”
“I did something that I got put in jail for.”
The woeful tale of misfortune didn’t come out all at once, “You had to drag what happened out of her.”
She was in jail, she said. She said she had gotten a ride home from a coworker the night before and the car was stopped for speeding. The officer did a search of the car and found drugs. Now she needed $5,500 to regain her liberty and put this calamity behind her before anybody found out and her good name fall into disrepute.
Bill was being scammed. It’s not a new one, but apparently it’s effective. It has been reported across the country, the state Attorney General’s Office has a warning on it. But it’s easy to see why it works so well.
It doesn’t rely on greed, to get over on somebody, or get a payoff too good to be true. It relies on somebody’s desire to help.
First thing Bill did, like most grandpas would do, is searched his mind. Who the heck is this?
He figured it was his grandson’s wife. His grandson had issues with the law, and once had found himself on the business end of a Taser. “It made a believer out of him,” Bill said.
It fit with what Bill already believed. He didn’t have $5,500 lying around, though. The granddaughter said she had voluntarily taken a “blood test,” the results of which proved she was not a drug user.
“She turned me over to a gentleman,” Bill said, then stopped. “A man, anyway, he may not be a gentleman in this case, who explained, yes, she was in jail. She had seen a judge and the judge agreed she could be released with a bond of $5,500.”
Bill says he made a mistake here. He told the man his grandson’s wife’s name, let’s call her Sally. That gave the “gentleman” something to go on.
That Sally, the “gentleman” said, was a real stand up gal. Everybody was impressed with her. And even though Bill couldn’t come up with $5,500, the “gentleman” said he would work on getting the amount lowered.
Meanwhile, the check should be sent to an address in Mississippi via FedEx.
Bill wouldn’t take credit for sniffing out the scam. His wife and son did the quick thinking, he said. They called around, called the jail, figured out it was all a bunch of hooey.
But it’s hard to blame Bill, who was ready to do what he could at a moment’s notice to help out his kin.
“They are pretty damn professional,” Bill said. “They had me convinced at first.”
For more information on the “Relative in need scam” go the Attorney General’s site.
To read another account of the scam, check out this story.