When We Found Out The Way She Took Care Of A Scammer, We Had To Ask This Grandma To….


During the pandemic, there has been an increase in fraud targeting the elderly. The FBI estimates that older citizens in the United States were defrauded by $1 billion in 2020, an increase of $300 million from the year before.

More seniors joined social media sites to stay in touch with friends and family during the pandemic, which exposed them to additional opportunities for fraud.

“The combination of online shopping and social media creates easy venues for scammers to post false advertisements. Many victims report ordering items from links advertised on social media and either receiving nothing at all or receiving something completely unlike the advertised item,” the FBI report said.

However, when con artists targeted 73-year-old Jean Ebbert in Long Island, New York, they were unaware that they were dealing with a former member of law enforcement. Ebbert used to work as a 911 dispatcher, so she knows exactly what a scam looks like.

Jean Ebbert

Well, sometimes, you have to hustle the hustler.

Ebbert received a phone call claiming to be her grandson who stated he was in jail after being jailed for DUI and urgently needed $8,000 cash, while she was texting with her son. The problem was that Ebbert doesn’t have a grandson old enough to drive, so she knew it was a scam.

Despite her family members telling her to hang up, Ebbert decided to keep playing along.

“My son was like ‘hang up ma’ and I’m thinking you’re 40 years old I’m 73 and you’re telling me to hang up? And I didn’t hang up. I usually hang up,” Ebbert said.

At that point, Ebbert was talking to someone posing as her fake grandson’s lawyer who said he needed $8,000 in bail money. “I told him I had the money in the house, and I figured, he’s not going to fall for that. Well, he fell for that hook, line, and sinker,” she said.

While Ebbert decided to play along with the scammer for fun, the tough-as-nails granny reported what was going on to the authorities, Ebbert called up the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department.

“Apparently they thought they had the big fish,” Ebbert said. “They actually thought I was gonna give them money.”

When a man arrived at the door claiming to be a bail bondsman, Ebbert handed him an envelope filled with paper towels and the police sprang out of nowhere to arrest him. They charged 28-year-old Joshua Estrella Gomez with attempted grand larceny in the third degree.

Jean Ebbert

She credits her accomplishment to her 911 training. She told Fox News, “You have to think quickly and be able to multitask. I had to come up with why I had money in the house.”

While older individuals are targeted by scammers is nothing new, the targeting of elderly people by those claiming to be jailed loved ones is a relatively recent occurrence. This is what law enforcement describes as a “grandparent scam.” In order to inform individuals about how these scams operate, the Federal Trade Commission started raising awareness of their prevalence in 2018.

As part of a racketeering investigation into a countrywide network of individuals who used similar frauds to defraud more than 70 elderly people out of more than $2 million, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of six people. But in this case, the targeted woman from Seaford wasn’t fooled. “I knew he was a real scammer. I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me,” Ebbert told CBS WLNY.

The fact that the man who called Ebbert and identified himself as her grandson claimed to be in jail following a vehicle accident and had been accused of drunk driving—something this grandma knew was implausible—tipped her off. However, many senior individuals, especially those who have dementia, could fall for this con.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, “She’s smart enough to call out and reach out to the police department and say, ‘I think I’m being taken advantage of.”

Local law enforcement is using the incident to remind people that scams against the elderly are rampant.

With Ryder warned,Speak to your families. Speak to your neighbors. Visit those that are vulnerable. Let them know, don’t listen to these scams. These individuals sit at home and have nothing else to do but think of a way to take advantage of our elderly.”

Ebbert believes that elderly people should remain vigilant as well. “I feel like gotcha, and I feel like, like you say, so many people fall for this and you only hear about it on the other end after they’ve lost $8,000,” she said.

Seeing an elderly person defeat a con artist is immensely fulfilling. However, individuals should use caution while interacting with criminals and delegate the dangerous work of law enforcement to experts.

Watch the video below for more details:

Sources: TapHaps,  WABC,  WLNY, FoxNews




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