Beware of suspicious phone calls

Published 7:09pm Saturday, August 6, 2011

Undoubtedly a result of the country’s economic crisis, i.e. the current politically popular phrase meaning “broke,” a number of enterprising individuals have found ways and means to put money into empty wallets and overdrawn bank accounts.

Their methods are at times quite ingenious as well as blatantly dishonest. And the harm done to their victims is often emotionally hurtful as well as economic.

I recently learned of a particularly bold and vicious incident in which the instigator took advantage of the victims’ love and concern for their grandson, (resident in a different state), an emotion common to those of us fortunate enough to have grandchildren.

The scheme began with an early morning telephone call to the home of the grandparents, who were informed that their grandson was being held in prison in Mexico, where he had been arrested and charged with drug possession violation.

The shocked grandparents were informed that the caller was offering assistance to secure the release of the grandson upon certain conditions being met.

These included the payment of the sum of $3,600.00 to be wired by Western Union to an address given by the caller and on behalf of the grandson.

On his personal receipt of the funds, the caller stated that the grandson would be released and taken to a hotel overnight, where he would receive excellent service and then be released the next day to return home.

The grandparents spent a frantic day drawing the cash from the bank, wiring it to the given address in increments specified by Western Union, waiting to hear from the caller upon his receipt of the funds.

Sometimes life intervenes.

When the telephone rang that evening the grandparents eagerly lifted it and heard the voice of their grandson greeting them.

Words tumbling over each other, voices almost shouting they queried: “Are you all right? Did they let you go? Are you home?”

And in a bewildered voice the grandson responded: “What are you talking about?  I am at home. I haven’t been anywhere.”

Further inquiries revealed the grandparents were victims of one of the out of state or out-of-country groups that prey on the hearts and lives of families in certain circumstances and at certain times.

Illegal? Absolutely!

Cruel? Positively!

Can anything be done to prevent such emotional savagery?

Yes, if the perpetrators are caught.

In the meantime, this perpetrator telephoned the grandparents the morning after their grandson’s call to inform them funds were received and he was on his way home.

The grandparents’ response may not be published!

Jean Martin

Selma

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