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Flashback Friday: Scammed by Granny

Friday, August 26, 2011

We all hear reports about people who scam the elderly out of their hard-earned money. It's criminal and the perpetrators deserved to be punished. But what happens when the con-artist is a senior citizen?

I'll tell you because it happened to me.

We had been living in our house for less than a year, so we were still the new kids on the block and still learning about our neighbors. I was about five months pregnant and spent most of my days at home sleeping after months of an unsuccessful job search. One Saturday there was a knock at the door. Damon answered it. From upstairs I could here voices inside the house and shortly he appeared in our bedroom to ask for my cell phone. He explained that a neighbor needed it to call her family doctor because her husband was sick. I passed him my phone without giving it a second thought and went back to resting. A few minutes later, he was calling for me to come meet our neighbor. I got up, checked my appearance, and went downstairs.

She was a cute gray-haired lady, probably in her early sixties. We exchanged introductions. She thanked me for lending her my cell phone and congratulated me on my pregnancy. She explained that she and her husband were visiting her daughter who lived in a duplex two blocks down and he fill ill. Her daughter's residence didn't have a working phone. I told her it was no problem and that I was glad to help. After she left I stayed downstairs to watch TV. Thirty minutes later someone was knocking on the door. It was the little old lady again. I don't remember where Damon was this time. I answered the door. She asked if I could give her a ride to the pharmacy to pick up her husband's prescription. My spidey senses started tingling, but I ignored them. She looked harmless and, besides, I just told her half and hour ago that I  liked to help. So I agreed.

Damon appeared at this point and asked what was going on. I told him I was giving her a ride to the drug store. He gave me a look, but I mumbled something about him starting this. Me and little old lady climbed into my car and off we went. During the drive, she started telling me about her failed first marriage and how her second husband was nice, but sick all the time. She also told me that her daughter's husband was killed in a drive-by and left her with two kids to raise alone. My mind was throwing red flags all over the field. I told her that we had just moved to Dallas, that I couldn't find work, and now we were expecting a baby so money was tight.

I pull up to the pharmacy right then and tell her I'll wait in the car thinking that I was giving myself an out. She returns a minute later and I knew what she was about to ask. She didn't have the money for the prescription and would I be a dear and help her out? She promised to repay me the next day. I felt trapped. It wasn't about the money. It was the whole set up that pissed me off. She asked me to drive her to the pharmacy knowing full well she didn't have any money. I wish I could blame the pregnancy hormones for impairing my judgement, but I can't. My instincts told me not to drive her there in the first place. Despite feeling used, I went inside with her and paid for the drugs.

The ride back was quiet. I dropped her off and headed home. I told Damon everything and he began to lecture me, but I wasn't in the mood. I remember telling him it was his own fault for inviting her in and letting her use my phone. That must have been like blood in the water for her. Suddenly I started to question parts of her story. Why did she walk two blocks to our house for a phone...didn't her daughter have next door neighbors? Where was her car if she was visiting? The more I thought about it the angrier I got. I just got had by a grandma!

Well, the next day came and went and there was no sign of granny and my money. After two days, I thought about knocking at her daughter's door, but Damon made me promise not to go over there. I asked my friend who is a lawyer if I had legal recourse and the answer was not really since I gave her the money of my own free will.I was about to let it go when on the fourth night there was a knock at our door. Damon went to answer it while I watched from the bedroom window. I heard a brief conversation and then Damon closing and locking the door. I saw granny walking down our pathway. I rushed downstairs and asked with hope in my voice if she had come by to repay me. He said no. She wanted to borrow money for gas! The nerve. He told her no point blank and asked her never to knock on our door again.That was the last time we saw granny.

Let this be a lesson to you all. Never trust a grandma with a sob story.


Quiana said...

Oh wow that's crazy! I had situation in my neighborhood which is filled with crazies in which a nicely dressed, obviously stressed out gentleman asked me for commuter train fare. It was hot and I was visibly pregnant but I still felt bad for him. He said he had locked his keys in his car and had to take the commuter rail home instead. I have him the $7 and he said he'd return to my building to give it to me. I let my husband know and he was livid especially because now the guy knew where I lived. Well, he never returned. Lesson learned to keep saying, "no" despite how someone looks!

Krissy said...

Wow that's crazy and scary! I'm glad you guys weren't hurt by that woman.

Radical Selfie said...

Theresa, this is absolutely insane! WOW!!! I'm glad you shared this because I've never heard of anything like this. I have to admit that I giggled over the title, but as I read, the giggle turned into a growl!

mail4rosey said...

I was very young and had been married only a couple of years. We lived up north, in a very cold state, so homeless people were not the norm. One day a homeless looking man (maybe in his 40's?) asked me if I could just make him a sandwich because he was starving. Like a fool, I did. I left him outside, made the sandwich and took it out to him. He left and I didn't think any more of it. Later that very same evening, my mother-in-law who was visiting us, me, and my very small son (my husband and his brother were out) were in the basement (I NEVER went down there, I was just showing her something of her son's, and it was so lucky we were there at that time!) and that same guy jimmied open a basement window and was going to crawl through!!! My mother-in-law started screaming at him and I ran up the stairs...I got my hand on the front door to lock it the very second he put his hand on it to open it (he'd run around the front). He got scared and ran off, but it was easily a very, very scary moment.

I rarely do nice things for strangers anymore unless they're in an organized charity event (and the one rare time I did help an individual, a few years back, I suspect I was ripped off).

Scary, scary stuff...

It's too bad things are like that...it'd be nice to be able to help out one another without fear of being scammed or worse.

I'm glad you're a-ok, and I'm sorry about the scamming granny.

Flowerg said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us! You wouldn't think an elderly woman would be a lying user but I guess in today's world it happens. This will help me be more cautious!

Lee-Ann said...

Wow, people have some nerve! I would have totally gone along with it too.

Kim said...

Oh my goodness!!! So she must have knocked on a good many doors until she found you guys. It's sad when something like this happens because it makes you hesitate to help and the next time it might be someone who genuinely needs it.

Maureensk said...

Wow! That is crazy! I would never think of an old person trying to scam me. I'm so gullible, they have my picture in the dictionary next to the definition, so I totally would have fallen for her. Thanks for the heads up about this type of scam.

Anonymous said...

I bet she dyed her hair grey just to look more distinguished too!

I try and always help others, even when I am burned by hooligans, because there have been so many situations where I was in need of help and others have helped me. I just say a little prayer and hope for the best. Except for in the case of hitchhikers - who picks them up?!

My best, Lynn

Help! Mama Remote... said...

Oh my gosh! Thanks for sharing this. It's good you learned early in her game.

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