A grandmother out of New York state is being credited for using her instincts to beat an alleged scammer at his own game.
If there’s one thing you should know about Jean, from Long Island, it’s this: Don’t mess with her. Seriously, don’t even think about it.
As a former 911 dispatcher, the 73-year-old grandmother has heard it all — which is something that recently came in handy when a would-be scammer tried to pull one over on her. Instead, Jean beat him at his own game by luring the alleged criminal into her home before having him arrested.
Jean Ebbert, a resident of the Long Island community of Seaford, N.Y., received a phone call recently from a person claiming to be her grandson.
The crying man said he had been drinking, got into an accident, and needed thousands of dollars in order to get out of jail.
“I knew he was a real scammer. I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me,” Jean said. “He starts calling me ‘grandma,’ and then I’m like, I don’t have a grandson that drives, so I knew it was a scam.”
The scam took several phone calls to play out and involved multiple unidentified males, police said in a press release. One person claiming to be a lawyer for Jean’s grandson told her that he needed $8,000 to get out of jail. A third person called claiming to be a bail bondsman coming to collect the money.
“I told him I had the money in the house, and I figured, he’s not going to fall for that,” Jean said, adding that she called the police. “Well, he fell for that hook, line, and sinker.”
A man impersonating a bail bondsman arrived at Jean’s home to collect the money, and she handed him an envelope filled with paper towels. As he turned to leave, police officers tackled him.
The elder scammer has been identified as 28-year-old Joshua Estrella Gomez from Mineola, New York. Gomez has since been charged with attempted grand larceny.
Seniors are too often the subject of scams, with a recent U.S. senate committee report noting that in 2020, grandparent scams were the fifth most reported type.
But in her attempt to avoid becoming a victim herself, Jean says she “played the game really well right from the beginning.”