Scammed or Anything for Love?

I have a neighbor who is my “go to guy” for questions about things that go wrong at my house, recommendations for repair people, and for interesting and honest perspectives on just about anything. He’s a seasoned, intelligent, informed man and I’m lucky to have him as a friend and neighbor.

One day as I was heading out for a walk with my dog and he was getting his mail he looked at me and said, “I’ve just been scammed.” He proceeded to tell me that he received a phone call from his grandson who lives in Northern California.  His grandson was crying and said that he was in Florida where he had been flown for the funeral of a friend. The story unfolds that the grandson was in a holding cell in a Florida jail. The Uber driver that picked him up at the airport was stopped by police for a traffic violation. In the car the police found cocaine and a revolver. The Uber driver said it belonged to his passenger (grandson).

Fast forward the grandson is allowed one phone call from jail so he called Grandpa, hysterical, with the name of a lawyer. My friend talks to the lawyer and is told the courts are backed up for two weeks and the grandson will have to stay in jail until then and will be booked on criminal charges within the next few hours. My neighbor is told the only thing that can push the case up and get his grandson out of jail is $4000 to be paid in gift cards from very specific retailers. Urgency was stressed over and over again.

What did my neighbor do? He went to the retailers and got the gift cards! He called the lawyer back and gave him the gift card numbers. This ordeal took several hours. (Imagine LA traffic, and standing in line for gift cards in a large amount that have to be purchased in person not online).

Then in a moment of reflection and rational thought, my neighbor decides to text his grandson asking him if he is in California or Florida and does he have a friend that recently passed away in Florida. The grandson replies “I’m in California and no friends have passed away.”

The gift cards were canceled in time.

A scam? A scam that hit an informed, intelligent, man in his Achilles heel, his grandchildren.

Looking back and telling me the story he felt foolish and saw some of the illogical requests in the story…gift cards for payment!

Further investigation uncovered that this is a scam as big as those phony IRS calls we all receive. The scammers get information from the social media accounts of young people and somehow get to their family with a story and urgent requests that will make us do the unimaginable.

Scammed, yes, but not taken.

A demonstration of love for his grandson, ABSOLUTELY.

I will bet you would have done the same!

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