WATCH: Grandmother helps catch scammer ‘for fun’

Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 1:44 PM CST
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SEAFORD, N.Y. (WCBS) – A New York grandmother outsmarted some would-be thieves.

Police say the suspects intended to scam her out of thousands of dollars, but the woman was not having it.

The quick thinking of the 73-year-old Seaford, New York, grandmother, Jean, is being credited for taking down the alleged predator. Jean requested that only her first name be used.

“I knew he was a real scammer... I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me,” Jean said.

The former 911 dispatcher said she received a call Thursday morning from someone claiming to be one of her grandsons. The caller said he had been arrested for drunk driving and was in jail.

“He started calling me grandma and I don’t have a grandson who drives so I knew it was a scam,” Jean said.

Jean said she immediately knew the call was a hoax, but decided to play along for fun.

After several calls back and forth, a person claiming to be her grandson’s lawyer told her he needed $8,000 for bail.

“I told him I had the money in the house and I figure he’s not going to fall for that,” Jean said. “And well, he fell for it hook, line and sinker.”

In the meantime, Jean also called the police.

When a man pretending to be a bail bondsman arrived to collect the cash, she handed him an envelope filled with paper towels. Waiting officers then pounced and took 28-year-old Joshua Estrella Gomez into custody.

Police said the suspect has been charged with attempted grand larceny in the 3rd degree. He was issued a desk appearance ticket and is due back in court on Feb. 3.

Police said scams on the elderly like this one are rampant, and have asked the community to be on alert.

“Speak to your families, speak to your neighbors, visit those that are vulnerable, let them know not to listen to these scams,” Nassau County PD Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. “These individuals sit at home and have nothing else to do but think of a way to take advantage of our elderly.”

Jean is also asking people to watch out.

“I feel like ‘gotcha’,” she said. “I feel 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 hopes her story will serve as a cautionary tale for others and is glad no one was hurt in the process.

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