Grandma Confesses All!

So it’s been, what, close to five years since I wrote anything here? In the meantime, look what WordPress has done to me. Mucked up my poor blog with ads for things I know virtually nothing about. I will have to do something about that eventually.

Right now I want to make a confession. Well, I don’t want to. It isn’t an easy thing to tell. Nevertheless, here I am – a sorry example to all humankind. See what I did? DON’T DO THIS.     

With that, taking my bruised ego in hand, I admit that I have been the victim of a sleazy, pathetic, ludicrous telephone scam – and am $7,500 poorer because of it.

I don’t usually pick up phone calls when the Caller ID shows an unfamiliar number. Last Thursday morning, however, I was expecting a call from the plumber letting me know he was on the way. I picked up; it was not the plumber. On the line was a teenage boy in tears: “Grandma?” “[Grandson’s name]?” I said, “Is everything okay?” No, everything was not okay. He said he’d been driving a friend’s car, had had an accident, and was being held by the police. A public defender would be calling me shortly. He gave me the man’s name (“William Hale,” let’s get it right out there) and a case number. My (real) grandson does not yet have a drivers’ license. He begged me not to tell his parents; he just wanted to get home and tell them what had happened himself. 

Why, you ask, did I fall for such a blatant fraud? I’ll get to that. 

This is not a new, brilliant or particularly subtle scheme for fleecing the unwary. I first heard of it several years ago. Appalling, I thought then. Thank God I’m not that gullible. 

And I’m not. I am a profoundly cynical, notoriously suspicious woman. Trust not the silver-tongued telephone solicitor! That’s my creed. Or it was. Also, I know my grandkids. I know their inclinations and their voices. I don’t see them just once or twice a year, I see them regularly.

What’s more, if you knew my grandson, you would never fall for such a cockamamie story. He’s a great kid, wonderful really. (I could be a little biased.) But anyone, I thought, and certainly fuzzy-brained teenagers, can make a mistake. That’s what I told him: “We’ve all made mistakes, honey.” I actually said that. To this little, conniving bastard. God help me.

What happened next: 

Fake-grandson’s phone call was quickly followed by a plethora of calls from “Mr. Hale,” the kindly public defender, who was doing his damnedest to keep this offense off fake-grandson’s record. He pleaded first-offender status, he got the authorities to hold fake-grandson in the infirmary instead of a cell (because of the broken nose and split lip sustained in the accident, you see), and talked the judge into releasing him that day, provided someone was willing to pay his bond. $7,500. In cash. Right now. Urgent! Urgent! Urgent!

Someone would be me. I went directly to the bank (not forgetting to leave a note for the plumber), withdrew the cash, drove to a specific Wells Fargo ATM (in a local convenience store), and like some witless zombie grandma, entered the access and pin numbers he fed me, followed by all that dough. Cash transaction. Untraceable.

So did they then release him? My beleaguered grandson, languishing in the infirmary but capable of being moved to a general-population cell with hardened criminals at any moment? Of course not. The judge was backed up. So many cases, so many delays. Maybe the good Mr. Hale could have him released by that evening (or certainly by the next morning). Stand by, zombie grandma! And not to worry about fake-grandson’s parents, who surely would be asking questions by then, because fake-grandson had called them offering wholly believable excuses for his prolonged absence. 

Oh, there were red flags all over the place. “That can’t be right,” I thought, more than once. But here’s the thing: the very first phone call I got was from my would-be grandson. I knew it was him. I swear to you it was his voice I heard on the phone. And I knew that my good, mostly rule-following grandson would never do such a thing to me. 

Enough. I’ve told my sordid tale. I’ve called the police. Perhaps now my wandering mind can rest. Or not. 

Pride goeth before a fall, you know. That’s really all I can tell you.

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6 Responses to Grandma Confesses All!

  1. Margie Albert says:

    Oh Judy! I have so much respect for you laying this out there for all to read. Often, when we hear these stories, we wonder how stupid can someone be but I know if I heard my grandchildren in such a scary predicament I may do the same thing. There are some really ugly people out there. You may have just saved several people from falling victim- hope that makes you feel a little better.

    Aside from being $7,500 poorer, how are you? I think of you often.

    Margie

    Margie Albert Faculty Associate The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication 480-201-9098

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    Like

    • Judy says:

      Aside from being $7500 poorer, not bad! I often think of you and your kind family. Enjoy seeing the pictures of the kids that Sara-Lynn put up. Except for the youngest, my own grandkids are all taller than me now, and he’s almost there. Not that this is a difficult achievement. Was I not short enough? Must I shrink even more?? Well, other than that, I am healthy. Hope you are the same. I can tell by your FB posts that you are keeping busy! Love to everyone!

      Like

  2. nancyfelicehotmailcom says:

    Judy,

    First of all, thank you for sharing this and possibly saving others from being victimized.

    Second, these guys must be really good if they could con you. Karma will catch up with them eventually.

    It was good to hear from you; I’m just sorry it was under these circumstances.

    Take care,
    Nancy

    ________________________________

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    You’re not alone. This exact same scam happened to my mom ten years ago. Grandmas are so loving.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mfdodds@aol.com says:

    I was so pleased this morning to see that you are writing again – then, I read the entry…I am so sorry and angry at unscrupulous people…

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Liked by 1 person

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