A Long Island resident named Jean recently bested a phone scammer by walking him directly into a trap. Jean, 73, told her local news station that she was filled with a sense of satisfaction after helping police bust a would-be scammer. “I feel like — ‘Gotcha!’ ” Jean enthusiastically told WLNY. “So many people fall for this, and you only hear about it on the other end after they’ve lost $8,000.”
Jean received a phone call Thursday from a man claiming to be her grandson. The man explained that he was in legal trouble for drinking and driving and needed $8,000 to post bail. Jean felt something was wrong because both of her grandsons are too young to drive. “I knew he was a real scammer. I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me,” Jean told reporters.
When she realized the person on the phone was trying to steal from her, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She contacted the authorities and told them what was happening, and officers arrived at her home to assist her.
Police watched as the scammers contacted Jean numerous times via phone. Jean told the fraudsters that she had the $8,000 at her home and would give it to the “bail bondsman” if he would visit her address. One of the scammers claimed to be her “grandson’s” lawyer and said that he already knew her address. As such, they could send the bondsman straight away.
“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,” Jean explained. When the criminal arrived, Jean handed him an envelope stuffed full of paper towels to emulate the weight and feel of a large sum of cash.
As the man attempted to leave Jean’s property with the “money,” police tackled him to the ground and arrested him. Joshua Estrella Gomez, 28, faces charges of attempted grand larceny in the third degree. It is unclear whether he’s retained legal counsel as of the time of this writing.
Authorities encourage people to screen their phone calls carefully. Never send money to people who contact you over the phone or the internet. Scammers will try to pull at your heartstrings by posing as your family members. Think carefully before making any irreversible decisions with your finances.