In this day and age, scammers tend to utilize the internet to locate and entice potential victims. Nevertheless, there are still individuals who employ more traditional methods to achieve their goals, namely obtaining money.
These fraudsters primarily focus on elderly citizens, calling them on the phone while pretending to be their child or grandchild. They claim to have been involved in an accident and request large sums of money to cover the costs of their legal or medical bills. The older population is more vulnerable due to their trusting nature and willingness to do anything for their family.
Suzanne Turner of FBI San Diego notes that these are the exact characteristics that criminal organizations are looking for. One example of a senior being targeted is Jean Ebbert, a 73-year-old mother, grandmother, crossword enthusiast, and retired 911 dispatcher.
Ebbert had received several calls from scammers in the past, but this time, she decided to play along. On January 20, a man called her, sobbing, claiming to be her son-in-law. Ebbert realized it was a scam and tried to remain calm while telling the scammer not to call his mother.
The scammers told her that her grandson had been involved in a drunken car accident and needed $8,000 in cash for bail. They even provided her with a phone number, case number, and a fake attorney’s name to make the situation appear more legitimate.
Eventually, they arranged to meet at her house to collect the money. Ebbert had texted her son and called the local police to inform them of the situation.
When the scammer arrived at her house, he was tackled and arrested by two officers. Ebbert was initially frightened, but everything went according to plan. Joshua Estrella Gomez, of Mineola, was charged with third-degree attempted grand larceny and will be appearing in court soon. Ebbert’s cool and collected demeanor helped to bring a scammer to justice.