Almost Scammed

Sep 05, 2018

To the Editor:

This past Monday, after I finished playing golf, I received a call on my cellphone from my 23-year-old grandson, Andrew. He was highly agitated and on the verge of crying and told me he had gone to New York City to attend a friend’s mother’s funeral and after the funeral he had a glass of wine and then while he was driving home he rear-ended a car driven by a seven-months-pregnant woman. He had not been wearing his seat belt and he had a broken nose and had other lacerations.

He and the woman were taken to the hospital. The police gave him a sobriety test and he walked the line all right, but he failed the Breathalyzer test. He was calling me from the police station and he begged me not to call his parents. He asked me to call an attorney that he was assigned and gave me a case number. He urged me to do all that I could so he could go home because the police told him that if bail was not posted he would be moved to the county jail.

I called the lawyer on the number Andrew gave me, John Williams, and he was familiar with the case and said in situations such as this, the bail is $98,000, but because there was no prior offense the bail was set at 10 percent of it, or $9,800. He told me the bail had to be in cash. I asked how I could get it to him and he told me to go to my financial institution and get the money and then call him back by which time he would have the details arranged.

I immediately went to Bank of America in Little Egg Harbor and asked the teller for $9,800 from my account. The teller asked me whether I had called ahead because it was such a large amount. I said I hadn’t. She then told me that if I would come back in half an hour, when the other teller was through lunch, between the two of them they would have the full amount.

I waited the half hour and returned to the bank where I asked for the withdrawal again. The teller said, “I’m curious. Why do you need so much cash?” I was reluctant to answer because I was instructed by the lawyer not to say anything if we did not want the incident to appear on Andrew’s record. I did, however, tell her the situation. She said it didn’t sound right to her and that it might be a scam. At that point all the others in the bank who heard the story sided with the teller and urged me not to withdraw the money.

One person at the bank suggested that I get the Little Egg Harbor police involved. I agreed and the police were called and Officer B. Smith came to the bank. Officer Smith and I went to my car where I called the lawyer back. I told the lawyer I was having trouble getting the money because I had not called ahead. Officer Smith gave me some questions to ask the lawyer, which I did. Finally, I handed the phone to the officer and he said into the phone, “This is the Little Egg Harbor police. We believe that this is a scam, is it?” And on the other end of the phone there was some swearing and a “yes.”

I was almost taken because I was so emotionally wrapped up in what I thought was my grandson’s disastrous problem. It was not my grandson who called me, but it sounded an awful lot like him. Later we looked up on the internet and found that it is a well-known scam called the “Grandparents Scam.”

My sincerest appreciation to those of you who read this who helped me overcome my emotional state, especially the tellers at Bank of America, those of you who were in the bank at that time, and finally Officer B. Smith of the Little Egg Harbor police.

Bill Felix

Little Egg Harbor

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