Our phone rang. It was my mother-in-law, and she was obviously shaken. Poor dear could barely squeak out what had just happened to her.
Someone called her and claimed that her grandchild, Jeremy (my stepson), was in jail in Los Angeles for driving without insurance. He was incarcerated at the Los Angeles Central Jail. He didn’t have funds for bail, and would be in jail all weekend if she didn’t send bail immediately.
She was shocked. Terrified. And, of course, she wanted to get her grandson out of jail immediately.
They said he’d tried to call using his one phone call, but she hadn’t answered the phone. (And because of that she felt horribly guilty.)
The man claimed to be a lawyer who was assigned to Jeremy’s case. He said that the DA would settle and Jeremy could get out of all of this, for a mere $600. She could wire the money to them right away, and Jeremy would give her a call as soon as he was out of jail and safe.
She told them that she needed to call someone to get the money together. Thankfully, she called us. Her son is her go-to for handling business, ever since her husband (my husband’s father) passed away 7 years ago.
When she told us the story, I immediately thought “this is a scam.” Then I thought… “but, what if it isn’t?”
We tried to call Jeremy. He didn’t answer. We tried calling approximately 234,467,898,2341111111 more times. 😉 The situation got a little desperate. I mean, what if it was true!? I don’t normally fall for things like this (after all, I am the founder of gimmiefreebie.com and the Big List of Fake Freebies (and Scams) to Avoid!) But this is my SON. This isn’t just the chance that you’ll get more spam in your email. This is my family!
So, we called a friend of Jeremy’s who lives near him in Las Vegas, and asked him to go to his house and see if he was okay.
While we waited, we called back the “lawyer” who had called my mother-in-law. Because I wasn’t quite sure what to believe, I said, “I’m calling about Jeremy. He was arrested for a DUI.” The alleged lawyer assured us that Jeremy was fine, and that he had worked out a deal with the DA to drop all charges of driving under the influence — if we paid this fine in full.
But here’s the thing… this guy had told my mother-in-law Jeremy was picked up for driving without insurance. Not a DUI!! I was testing him. A real lawyer would know what his client was arrested for. He failed. And, then I knew for sure it was a scam.
So I started asking more specific questions. Why did Jeremy say he was in LA (he lives in Vegas)? What did he do to get stopped? How long had he been in jail?
Meanwhile, Jeremy called. He was sleeping at home. He was fine.
Finally, the guy figured out I knew he was trying to scam me. He started cussing up a storm and hung up on me. (No love loss there, trust me!)
It was all a scam.
But imagine if an older person believed it?
In the city I attended college, an elderly woman was scammed out of nearly $40,000! She was trying to claim what she believed was a Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes win. She cleared out her life savings and was trying to take a $10,000 line of credit when the bank stopped her and told her it was a scam. She lost all that money!!
We need to do better, sharing this information with friends and family, including older people who might not be online.
This is not a legit crisis; it is a scam. STEER CLEAR! To stay safe we highly recommend that you read our Big List of Fakes and learn how to protect yourself on every single freebie you sign up for. Read also: Getting Started with Gimmie.
Stay safe online with Gimmie’s Big List of Fake Freebies to Avoid!
We are the home of the Gimmie’s Big List of Fake Freebies to Avoid. We research all samples before we share to keep you safe online. You may not realize it, but scammers and spammers are notorious for posting fake offers. There are lots of reasons why people post fake freebies, but usually it is about money. They build up a website or Facebook fanpage and then sell it for profit. Or, they take your info submitted in their alleged freebie form, and sell it to Spammers.