‘I played stupid’: New York grandmother outsmarts phone scammer pretending to be her grandson

“Bored grandma: one. Bad guy: zero,” she said.

A New York grandmother gave a phone scammer a run for his money when he tried to trick her out of thousands of dollars, NBC New York reports. (NBC New York)

NEW YORK – A New York grandmother gave a phone scammer a run for his money when he tried to trick her out of thousands of dollars, NBC New York reports.

When the scammer called the 73-year-old grandmother, who wishes to be identified as Jean, the man claimed to be her grandson, saying he needed thousands of dollars in bail money. But Jean, a grandmother of seven, knew exactly what the scammer was trying to pull and instead of calling them out on it, she decided to have some fun and play along.

“Apparently they thought they had the big fish, they actually thought I was gonna give them money,” said Jean.

The scam unfolded in a series of calls and authorities say it possibly involved multiple unknown men.

During the first call, a man pretended to be her grandson, saying he was in a car accident, got arrested for drunk driving and needed her to help him get bailed out of jail. The following call was from a man posing as her grandson’s lawyer, stating he needed $8,000 in bail money.

“I played stupid grandma. ‘Oh my poor grandson,’ I told the guy. ‘Please don’t tell his mother,’” she said.

She agreed to give the scammer the money, but quite the opposite happened when a man pretending to be a bail bondsman arrived at Jean’s doorstep to collect the cash.

Instead of getting paid, the fraudster got busted and came face to face with the Nassau Police after Jean lured him to her home.

All of it was captured by Jean’s doorbell camera. The camera footage shows Jean handing over an envelope, which was secretly stuffed with paper towels.

When the man started to leave, Nassau County police officers tackled him to the ground and then arrested him.

The scammer was later identified as 28-year-old Joshua Estrella Gomez, of Mineola. He is being charged with attempted grand larceny of the third degree and is slated to appear at First District Court on Feb. 3, according to the Nassau County Police Department.

Jean, who was a Nassau County 911 dispatcher for more than 20 years, was more than pleased that she was able to outsmart the phone scammers.

“Bored grandma: one. Bad guy: zero,” she said.


About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.