An elderly New York State woman was conned out of $7,000 in a grandparent scam -- and nearly lost $5,800 more before Garfield police grabbed a Paterson man as he collected the second payment, authorities said.
Jose A. Torres-Dejesus, 27, called the victim on Friday claiming to be her grandson, Detective Capt. Richard Uram said.
Torres-Dejesus told the woman he’d been involved in a DUI crash and needed money, Uram said.
He then gave her a phone number, saying it was his attorney, the captain said.
The woman called the number and a man who answered said she had overnight $7,000 in cash to an address on Malcolm Avenue in Garfield, Uram said.
After the money was delivered on Saturday, the scammers called back Sunday, telling her to send $5,800 to the same address to cover court costs.
She got the money together and shipped it out – only this time she also called police, Uram said.
Garfield detectives and Juvenile Bureau officers were watching as the Torres-Dejesus – who doesn’t live at that address – collected the package outside the Malcom Avenue home, he said.
Torres-Dejesus was charged with theft by deception and released pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Police everywhere say such scams have become all too common, separating innocent victims from their money.
So many people have fallen for the "grandson in trouble" phone scam that the FTC said it contributed to combined losses to victims across the U.S. of $328 million in a single year.
Victims 70 and older have suffered the highest average losses, the AARP reports.
HERE's WHAT TO DO if you ever get a call from or about a grandchild or any other relative in danger or trouble and needing money:
- Take a moment to calm yourself;
- Say that you must consult another family member first;
- Hang up and call a loved one.
- Then call police.
If the emergency turns out to be real, you can still respond appropriately. If it's not, you saved yourself from becoming a victim.
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have elderly parents, relatives or friends, please share this story with them. If they weren't already aware, warn them about the dangers and advise them on how to respond.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.