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Enumclaw grandmother thwarts effort at telephone scam, warns others

A foul-mouthed scam artist attempted to bilk an Enumclaw woman out of $3,000 Wednesday morning, but was foiled when the sympathetic grandmother employed intellect over emotion.

The incident began with a call to the woman's land-line telephone. A caller asked for "grandma" and said he had been in an accident. He was in dire need of $3,000 and required the money fast. He asked his grandmother to immediately contact Western Union and wire the money, which he promised would be repaid later in the day.

The grandmother's initial mistake was using the grandson's name. Later, she realized if she had simply asked who was calling, the scam would have thwarted. That's an oversight criminals count on.

Instead, she initially took the bait.

"What's a grandmother to do?" she later asked, explaining a natural instinct to help a loved one in distress, particularly a grandchild. She also assured the caller she would keep their secret; he professed to being embarrassed about the incident and didn't want anyone else to know of his troubles.

She gave the caller her cell phone number – so she could later be told where to send the money – and prepared to make the financial arrangement.

But after her initial emotions cooled, the grandma realized something might be amiss. She called one daughter, who warned it could very well be an illegal scam. She then called another daughter – the mother of the young man supposedly in trouble – and learned everything was fine on the home front.

Soon, a call came from her grandson, who was attending class on a local high school campus at the time, confirming he was not in trouble.

Perfect timing was in order. While she was talking with her grandson on her land-line phone, the scammer called her cell. When she told the caller she was speaking to her real grandson on another line, the scammer called her a "f---ing idiot" and hung up.

With that unsettling experience behind her, the Enumclaw grandmother – who has asked that her privacy be protected and her name not be used – hopes her story will spare others from the indignity of being fleeced. Her warning? Don't give in to emotion, be cautious and ask plenty of questions.

 

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