220 Jewett Blvd, PO Box 218, White Salmon, WA 98672 | 509.493.2112
'Grandson' tries to bilk Underwood grandmother out of money
March 12, 2013
By BEN MITCHELLUnderwood resident Darlene Leek says she wants seniors and other residents to be wary if they receive phone calls from relatives asking for money, because it could be a scam artist, not a loved one, at the other end of the line.
Leek said she received an odd phone call Monday morning from a man claiming to be her grandson. The man said that he had gone down to Mexico for a wedding with some friends, but was in trouble for crashing a rental car after he had too much to drink at the reception.
The man sounded a bit like her 17-year-old grandson, Casey, who lives up in the Mt. Vernon area, but Leek was suspicious.
"It didn't sound right, especially that they'd rent a car to a 17-year-old," she explained.
Leek reported that the man claimed no one had been hurt in the accident, but he needed some money since he was now in trouble with the rental car company and the law.
While Leek said she is close with her grandchildren, she noted that if they were ever in that kind of trouble, they would call their parents first, not her. Moreover, Leek said her grandchildren have been told many times by her and their mother not to drink and drive, and she thought it unlikely Casey would be in this situation.
Suspicious, Leek asked her "grandson" a key question.
"I asked him, 'What's your birthdate?'" she said. "Then I heard a 'click.'"
After the man hung up on Leek, she called her daughter-in-law, Shellie, to see if her son was in Mexico. Shellie was incredulous and confirmed that her son was most definitely not in Mexico with a smashed rental car or otherwise.
Leek said the scammer called her house phone, not her cellphone. Her house phone does not have caller ID and Leek said she wished she had been able to get the phone number of the scammer and turn it over to the police.
Although she didn't fall prey to the ruse, Leek contacted The Enterprise shortly after she received the phone call, concerned that others may not be as savvy and should be aware that scammers like this one are out there.
"If it didn't work on me, it might work on someone else," she warned.