Avoiding Scammers

By Annie Lane

April 21, 2020 4 min read

Dear Annie: As a public service, please make your readers aware of the grandparents phone scam. My elderly parents were victims of this scam. Someone called them claiming to be a narcotics detective and told them their grandchild had been arrested and they needed to send bail money in order to have her released from jail.

He said they must not discuss this with anyone, even the family. They put a girl on the phone claiming to be their grandchild. She was crying hysterically in order to disguise her voice. She begged them not to tell her parents or anyone else. My parents were given specific directions on getting the money, how to pack it and send it. The scammer requested $22,000 in cash in $100 bills. He said time was of the essence and if they didn't follow his directions or if they told anyone, their grandchild could be facing a long jail sentence.

Unfortunately, my parents fell for this scam and sent $22,000 in cash to a residential address in Florida. I am shocked that my parents fell for this scam, as there were so many red flags. My parents may be elderly, but they are both mentally sharp. These scammers are pros and have an answer for everything.

They prey on the grandparent's love and concern for their grandchild. My dad was told he would receive a certified check in the mail reimbursing him all of the money after their grandchild was released from jail. He even followed up with them on where the package was in transit, calling them several times over a two-day period, always reminding them that they must not discuss this with anyone.

I have reported this matter to the FTC and the FBI, but I am aware that my parent's money is gone forever. I just want to get this information out to the elderly and also to their friends and family. I do not want to see another person scammed and lose their money to these evil people. You may think your parents would never fall for something this devious, but I thought that, too.

My parents are so embarrassed and ashamed that they fell for this scam. I'm sad that they didn't contact someone for advice, but he was just so convincing. — Sad Daughter

Dear Sad Daughter: I am so sorry that your parents had to go through that. Shame on whoever stole from them — and probably many other desperate, loving grandparents. Thank you for alerting others to the problem. I'm hoping that your letter helps save others.

Dear Readers: Here are some fun tips to make the most out of your days in quarantine.

—Start a gratitude journal. It can be as small as writing one thing you are grateful for every day.

—Call a family member or friend to check in on them. This will make both of you feel good. It's a win/win.

—Move your body. Create a workout space inside or maybe on a patio or in your backyard. Take all precautions listed by the White House, if you venture outdoors.

—Work on hobbies, crafts or art. Do something that makes you happy. It can be playing an instrument, sewing, gardening, writing, painting or anything else that allows for creative expression.

—Lastly, take time to breathe. There are many great breathing exercises online. One of my personal favorites is from James Gordon. Another is the Buteyko breathing method.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

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