A Long Island grandmother outsmarted a phone scammer who pretended to be her grandson, claiming he needed thousands of dollars in bail money.
The 73-year-old Seaford woman, who asked only to be identified as Jean, lured the suspected swindler to her home where police arrested him in a dramatic takedown caught on her doorbell camera.
"Apparently they thought they had the big fish, they actually thought I was gonna give them money," said Jean.
The scam played out over several calls and possibly involving multiple unknown males, according to police. Jean received the first phone call on Thursday from someone purporting to be her grandson. The man on the phone said he was in a car accident and got arrested for drunk driving and needed to be bailed out of jail.
A subsequent call from a man who said he was her grandson's lawyer stated he needed $8,000 to bail out of jail.
The grandmother of seven knew instantly it was a scam, but instead of hanging up like she normally would, Jean decided to play along.
"I played stupid grandma. 'Oh my poor grandson,' I told the guy. 'Please don’t tell his mother,'" she said.
U.S. & World
Jean agreed to deliver the money, but then called Nassau Police.
A man impersonating a bail bondsman arrived at Jean's home to collect the cash. Video footage from her Ring doorbell camera shows Jean handing him an envelop — stuffed with paper towels.
As the man turns to leave, waiting Nassau County police officers tackles him to the ground and arrest him.
The man was identified as 28-year-old Joshua Estrella Gomez, of Mineola. He was charged attempted grand larceny in the third degree, according to a news release. Police are now trying to determine if Gomez worked with others and whether he has done this before.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Jean did a "great job." He urged the community to be on alert and to remind vulnerable family members and neighbors about the threat of scammers targeting the elderly.
Jean's son, meanwhile, wishes she would have hung up on the scammers.
"I couldn’t believe what was going on. I told her to stop, stop," he said, but acknowledged what she did was "cool."
But Jean has never run from drama on the phone — she was a Nassau County 911 dispatcher for over 20 years. And she relished in her victory over the scammers.
"Bored grandma: one. Bad guy: zero," she said.