One Detroit grandmother was able to hold onto her cash, and possibly her safety, thanks to a family friend who happens to be a top cop.
On Wednesday, Augusta Banks got an urgent call from someone claiming to be her grandson. "He said, ‘Grandma, I was just in a car wreck.’ I said, ‘What? You just left here a few minutes ago,’" she told Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ.
The caller asked her for $250 to cover repairs. Augusta only had about $60 on hand, but she willingly offered it to the man who she thought was grandson. After a brief pause in conversation, the scammer returned the call, this time posing as the mechanic who showed up to the fake crash. He asked for Augusta’s address so he could pick up the payment and said he would be there soon.
While the conman was on his way to Augusta’s house, she called Sean’s mother, Janet, to tell her about the supposedly serious accident. Janet knew something was off about the situation when she heard her son was more worried about his car than getting treatment at the hospital.
That’s when Janet called Sean only to learn that he hadn’t been in a crash and was, in fact, doing just fine. Janet contacted Augusta again urging her not to let anyone in no matter who they claimed to be.
Next, Janet put a call in to Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, a family friend. The sheriff and a deputy went o Augusta’s place, where they were able to arrest the scam artist immediately upon his arrival.
"It could have been far more serious," said a rep for the Wayne County Sheriff Department. "We’re talking about a senior individual, trusting. She was at home alone. And this person, who knows what he would have done once he got into the house."
— Sonya Eskridge