Jean Ebbert, 73, of Long Island, New York, was target by scammers — but they had no idea who they were dealing with.
Ebbert, a former 911 dispatcher, knows exactly what a scam looks like.
Jean was texting with her son when someone claiming to be her grandson called her. The man said he was arrested for drinking under the influence and needed thousands of dollars in bail.
But Jean doesn’t have a grandson old enough to drive, so she knew she was being conned.
“I knew he was a real scammer. I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me,” Jean Ebbert to CBS News. That’s when she decided to play along.
The Grandma Who Scammed a Scammer – And Got Him Arrested
“It took about three hours of back-and-forth phone calls, maybe 15 phone calls,” she told Fox News.
The con man took the lie further by having another man to pose as a lawyer, who told her he needed $8,000 in bail money for her grandson. Meanwhile, Ebbert called the police.
I told him I had the money in the house, and I figured, he’s not going to fall for that. Well, he fell for that hook, line, and sinker.
When a man showed up at her door claiming to be a bail bondsman, Ebbert handed him an envelope containing paper towels. Waiting police officers then sprang into action and arrested him.
Ebbert says her 911 training taught her how to deal with situations like this.
“You have to think quick. You have to be able to multitask. I had to come up with why I had money in the house,” she explained.
Beware of Scams – And Protect Your Vulnerable Loved Ones
Authorities are reminding citizens that scams against American seniors are happening more than ever. In fact, the FBI said the elderly were scammed for $1 billion in 2020, up from $300 million the year before.
Speak to your families. Speak to your neighbors. Visit those that are vulnerable. Let them know, don’t listen to these scams. These individuals sit at home and have nothing else to do but think of a way to take advantage of our elderly.
Ebbert hopes her story serves as a cautionary tale.
“I feel like gotcha, and I feel like, like you say, so many people fall for this and you only hear about it on the other end after they’ve lost $8,000,” she said.
Although it worked out well for Ebbert, it’s still best to leave this type of thing to law enforcement. If you suspect a scammer, call the police and don’t arrange a rendezvous. The best thing you can do is speak to those that are vulnerable and help prevent them from being scammed.