This morning my elderly Mom just got a call for help from a young female that sounded like one of my nieces. The sobbing female said she was in jail after being in a car accident. This woman skillfully got my Mom to ask if she was one of my niece’s and say the name. My Mom said that she didn’t sound like herself and the sobbing female instantly said that she had broken her nose and could not talk correctly. There was a great deal of “I’m so sorry to ask you this,” “I need money for bail,” “I only have one phone call,” and she wasn’t very clear about where she was calling from only that it was a jail in California. She said a man would call back who had been assigned as her public defender. Now mind you, her crime is being in a car accident without a driver’s license….hmm.
Needless to say is that this is a fraudulent call for help. This type of scammer wants to victimize people who want to do good for their family and friends. After getting off the phone, my first inclination was to call my niece’s mother and truly determine if she was indeed missing. It was discovered that my niece was at her work and perfectly fine. The message here is double check everything. Depending upon your family or your friend, there are a number of avenues that you should take before believing such a call. What gets me is that this upset my elderly mother and these people direct these type of scams at seniors.
So if you have elderly people in your life, sit down with them and discuss these types of phone calls and make them aware. Make plans to have a secret password or series of questions that should be answered to prove you are indeed their loved one. This could also affect younger people as well wishing to help friends in emergencies. This person on the phone was a good actor and highly skilled at keeping the situation at a heightened level of distress. When I got on the phone I attempted to calm her down and re-assure her, which strangely enough didn’t work. I also tried to get a location of where she was supposed to be and she skillfully started crying and changed the subject to not wanting to tell her father. She could not concentrate enough to tell me where she was, but was able to give me a case number using very clear language to make sure that I didn’t get confused on that number.
We later checked the phone ID number and it was a series of zeros. I don’t answer blocked phone numbers or numbers that don’t give a proper ID. This is something else that should be discussed with family members as well. There have been scams like this before on facebook with someone trapped in a foreign country needing help. These are not new, but when they happen to you personally, they take you by surprise, and that is why I am blogging about this so others will be able to recognize this as a scam more readily.
Remember double check these kind of stories or else you may be taken in by a good actor, who someday will find that karma has a way of finding them.
G. Winkler ©2017