Letter: Warn your elder relatives of scams
My 91-year-old mother living in Massachusetts recently received a phone call from “her grandchild” crying saying that he was in a bad car accident resulting in a broken nose and jaw and was in jail in New Jersey and immediately needed her to wire $ 5,900 to his “public defender attorney” named Michael White. The attorney, Michael White took over the phone call and gave her the case number insisting that she not discuss this situation with her grandchild’s parents or anyone else. Fortunately, my mother immediately called me because I help her with all of her financial needs. She was very upset and crying and insisting that I immediately send the money. I researched the public defender’s office and registry of attorneys in New Jersey and there was no attorney by the name of Michael White. It was clear to me that this was a financial scam, but she was not fully convinced. I finally called my nephew’s cell phone and he called me back to let me know that he was in Kansas and fine. I told him to immediately call his grandmother to reassure her that he was fine and not in jail in New Jersey. It wasn’t until she heard her grandchild’s real voice that she fully understood this was a scam and calmed down.
I think it is very important that we all alert our elderly parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or other relatives or friends that these grandparent/elderly scams are happening all over the country. When I have told other friends about this incident, they said a very similar scam happened to their relatives in Chicago, Florida and New York. Please take the time to warn anyone in your lives who are elderly not to answer the phone if they don’t know the name or number of the caller as their first line of defense. They need to let the call go to voicemail and let the caller leave a message. Elderly people are so vulnerable because they have little to no experience understanding these financial scams.
Hopefully, we can stop these scams by alerting our grandparents or elders in advance!