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Thread: The Con

  1. #1

    Default The Con

    The phone rings, and the caller ID says it's a call from Canada. Who do I know in Canada?

    I answer, and a familiar young voice, obviously stressed, says ..."Hello--Grandpa"????. The connection is terible, all scratchy and full of spotted drop-outs.
    I hesitated a second and said, "Scott--is that you"???, and he said "Yeah"...

    (My Grandson is NOT Scott, and he ALWAYS says "Yes, sir"...).

    He immediately launched into a tale of danger and woe, involving getting arrested in Mexico for driving without a license and needing $800 wired to him --NOW, please-- so he can get he and his friend out and go home.

    I feigned deep interest and let him go on. In between the constant phone failures I heard a dire story, told in short, increasingly frantic near-teary bursts, about how they got into the trouble they are in.

    (My Grandson is nowhere near driving age and would never have been in Mexico, no matter the reason, plus he does not get stressed to the point of tears).

    Then, a guy took the phone, and pretending to be a lawyer he informed me, with his funny Mexican accent, that I need to put my Grandson's bail on a credit card so he and his friend can be free, otherwise he'll have to stay in jail in Juarez, a dangerous place, and I must do it now so he can get them free...So, I gave him a phony card number, dreamed up on the spot, and before I finished the sequence I asked him a simple question in passable Castilian Spanish--" ?Senor, como se llama, por favor?" --(What's your name?)-- and the "Mexican" went "What?", then abruptly hung up.
    These guys were TERRIBLE actors--ballsy and inventive, but transparently amateurish. Canadians, pretending to be Mexican. Still, it was some amusing theatre.
    I LOL'd awhile, then did a *69, but all I got was a busy beep and a "Number Not Available" on the screen.

    Not all the scam artistes' are as dumb as the ones who called my number--some are Sharks and could con a con man. Still, I was center stage for a new scam, one that gets played on grandparents a lot.
    These computer-savvy con men mine some personal info, probably from facebook or other social sites, find a block of "Seniors" phone numbers and then try to convince anyone who answers to help them, their desperate kin, to get them out of trouble. It might not be "Trouble in Mexico". It could be a speeding ticket in East Jesus or a broken leg at Aspen; it doesn't have to be a Grandparent thing--I have read about people getting a call from a long-lost "Fraternity Brother", begging for help and knowing all kinds of details about the Old College Days. There must be a hundred scripts these thieves can use, and it is always an emergency and it's always your Grandson or your ex-sister-in-law or a woman you used to work with calling out to you, now, on the phone, needing immediate help.

    They'll feed out some accurate information, like " I called Uncle Ted, but he said he's broke" ( ...meaning my Brother. One of the lines "Scott" actually used), so the mark senses some credibility, then they try for a quick payment by introducing an authority figure, the closer, into the picture. He could be a lawyer, a cop, a doctor, whatever fits the picture, and he can solve the problem but he needs a solution from you--now.

    People actually fall for scams like this, in esentually the same numbers that fall for the "Nigerian Letter" con.
    The con men bank on the Law of Numbers ( make enough phone calls, and SOMETHING will happen) and hope that the occasional Altzheimer's victim or some sympathetic other will swallow the story and get out the American Express, and if the callers bag one out a thousand, they got a payday.

    Beware. Trust but verify.

  2. #2


    sucks. I get phising emails all the time now, both at home and in the office. You really need to be careful.

  3. #3
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    On the phone, I find a simple "Fuc* Off" works wonders. Any emails from someone not in my contact list go straight to the spam folder. I don't even read them.

  4. #4


    That "Fuc Off" thing sounds pretty effective. I think I will try it.


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