One hears about scams every day, particularly before holidays, and you say to yourself, that would never happen to me. I’d see right through it immediately. Well JT learned anyone, under the right circumstances, can be duped. Just before Christmas JT was busy doing something and the telephone rang. This scratchy voice said, “Grandpa.” Grandpa asked, “Lovan, is that you?” (Dumb grandpa called the grandson’s name.) He says, “ Yes, …..I’m in jail! I was not feeling too well so a friend was taking me to the doctor’s office and we were stopped. They found a large amount of narcotics in the trunk, so they arrested both of us. Can you help me get out?” Stunned, JT said “Yes, let me speak with the authorities.”
He said okay, but emphasized that he only got one telephone call so do not hang up. (This scam has been around a long time because it depended on only one telephone, a landline to be successful.) JT said okay and waited …and waited ….and waited. JT finally got his cell phone and called his grandson. No answer! So, he called the mother. No answer! JT’s concerned mounted. JT then texted the mother explaining the situation. After about 5-6 minutes this gruff voice came on the line, “This is Deputy So-in-So, how can I help you?” JT said “You are holding my grandson, (JT unwittingly gave the grandson’s whole name,) and I would like to bail him out.” The “officer” said, “Yes we arrested him on a drug charge. I’ll let you talk with an administrator and he will tell you how to post bond.” The “administrator” came on the line immediately and explained that bail was $8,000 and since I was not in Florida, I would have to get eighty $100 bills and place them in an envelope. Once this was done, he gave a telephone number to call for routing instructions. Once they had the FedEx routing number they would release the grandson.
He added, “Oh, since he is a minor, the arrest has been placed under a gag order and no one is to be told of the case.” Still no word from the grandson or the mother. JT was still concerned. So he called the Natchitoches Times office and told administrative assistant Vicki the situation and said he may need $8,000 in cash. On hearing this, Vicki laughed loudly and quickly informed JT that this was a scam going around and not to worry. On hanging up the telephone, JT’s daughter called and agreed this must be a scam because she called the Georgia sheriff’s and they had no record of any arrest. The grandson was visiting in Georgia, not Florida where the scammer inferred he was. The daughter then called the telephone number where we were to call for instructions.
They immediately hung up. In checking, the area code was in Canada. Once the crisis was over neither the grandson nor his father could be reached on their cell phones. So, the daughter called the Georgia sheriff who dispersed two deputies to find them. After about an hour or so, the two turned up playing baseball at the city park. All was well. The episode makes a good story, but it also made JT realize how the unsuspecting can get duped. In the beginning JT bit – hook, line and sinker. It amazed JT how long it took him to see through the scam!