Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

A lady’s home phone rang. She picked it up and said “hello.” There was a slight pause, followed by, “Hello, Grandma. This is your grandson.”

The lady responded, “Why hello, grandson Which one are you? Can’t quite catch your voice on the phone.” Again, a pause on the other end of the line, with an immediate disconnect!

Obviously, this was a scam gone wrong. The lady had educated herself long ago to recognize and identify a phone scam. Her first clue was that none of her grandchildren called her “Grandma” because each had their own pet name they used to address her by. Her second clue was by asking for the name of her grandson, she had put the scammer on the spot to come up with a correct name, or the jig was up. She quickly put the brakes on this scammer, who, no doubt, was going to tell her that her grandson was in jail on a traffic charge and needed to be sent bail or fine money to get out.

The internet offers access by crooks seeking an opportunity to fleece innocent people of their money or their identity. Millions are defrauded yearly, and it pays to learn warning signs to protect yourself against such scams. This lady had learned her lesson well.

The Federal Trade Commission works with other law enforcement agencies in an effort to curb such calls, so this lady reported this attempt at scam and hoped by doing so she might prevent others from being taken to the cleaners.

Scammers are very likely to pose as government officials or a family member. Do not send money or give out personal information in response to calls similar to this one received by this lady. Do an online search for a review of the number that called you. Maybe others have already reported such activity and have shared the experience. Learn to identify strange numbers and do not respond to those suspected of being from scammers. If you do not know the number, do not answer and do not call a strange number back.If you think the call is for real, call back to a regular, established contact source for that caller and verify that the call you received is legitimate. Remember, if you have to pay in advance to claim a prize or a job, pay a fee, back taxes, etc., chances are whoever receives your payment on Money Gram or by Western Union has already taken it and disappeared. Government offices and honest corporate offices will not ask you to use these payment methods.

Congratulations to the lady who asked for her grandson’s name. She stopped a con artist in his tracks!

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each week in the weekend edition of this newspaper.