A Long Island resident on Thursday tricked a would-be scammer into visiting her home so police could arrest him. Jean, 73, received a phone call from a man who claimed he was her grandson and that he was in trouble for driving while under the influence. The man asked Jean for $8,000 to post bond, a common framing device for senior scams.
Jean realized that the call was fake because neither of her grandsons are old enough to drive. “I knew he was a real scammer. I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me,” Jean told a local news station. She asked to only be identified by her first name.
Jean decided to take the scammer to task for his attempt to swindle her. Jean played along with his ruse, stating she would meet a bail bondsman at her house to hand over the money. She contacted the police and told them what was happening and asked for their assistance in arresting the thief.
Jean stuffed paper towels into an envelope and met the “bail bondsman” in the yard. As she handed over the “cash,” police ambushed the scammer and tackled him to the ground before cuffing him. Police charged Joshua Estrella Gomez, 28, with attempted grand larceny in the third degree.
It’s unclear whether Gomez has secured an attorney or made any public statements regarding his arrest. Jean told reporters that she felt satisfied to have stopped a criminal. “I feel like — ‘Gotcha!’ ” she told the local news station. “So many people fall for this, and you only hear about it on the other end after they’ve lost $8,000.”
Jean made a decision to stop the scammer directly. However, you don’t need to invite criminals to your home to beat their tricks. Instead, just stay vigilant and use your common sense. If you get a phone call from a relative asking for money, make sure the person on the other side of the line is who they say they are. Call another family member and ask them if your grandchild is in jail for drunk driving, for instance.
Never agree to have someone visit your home after only speaking with them over the phone. Jean contacted the police and had authorities immediately nearby when she invited a scammer into her home.
“Let them know — don’t listen to these scams,” said Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder at a Friday news conference. “These individuals sit at home and have nothing else to do but think of a way to take advantage of our elderly.”