NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man is speaking out after his elderly mother was allegedly scammed out of thousands of dollars in an incident that was caught on camera.
She’s among more than two dozen people struck by the suspects over the last two months, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported Tuesday.
“I’m furious. I’m furious,” Ron Johnson said.
That was just one of the emotions Johnson felt watching a video that shows the moment he said his 94-year-old mother was scammed out of $8,500. She could be seen handing an envelope to a man and then he walks away.
It all started with a frantic phone call to her land line inside her apartment on Trinity Avenue in the Melrose section of the Bronx from a man she thought was her grandson.
“They just said, ‘Grandma,’ and that what got her. They didn’t know names or anything. They found names after she gave information because the guy was acting like he was a lawyer,” Johnson said. “They good. They had a good story line.”
The callers allegedly said her grandson was in a car accident, hit a pregnant woman, and was locked up.
“He was saying, ‘Your son’s here and we gonna hold him. He’s responsible for the woman lost her baby,’ and so that got her all in a tizzy, flustered,” Johnson said. “I told my mother this wasn’t my son, but she was going 95 mph. She wanted to get my son out of jail.”
Johnson wasn’t there when his mother, thinking she was helping her grandson, handed over the cash outside her apartment.
“They’re just lucky I didn’t catch them that day, that’s all,” Johnson said.
The man on the video still hasn’t been caught. Police believe he is among a group of suspects connected to 27 scams in the past two months in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Investigators said the scam is similar to what happened to Johnson’s mother. The victims get a call stating their loved ones are in trouble and need money for bail or lawyers. The suspects then allegedly arrange a pick up, go to the victims’ homes or meet them somewhere and end up collecting thousands of dollars.
“Stop robbing people and taking advantage of people. You got mothers. You got grandmothers out there. You shouldn’t be doing that. That’s not right,” one friend of a victim said.
The NYPD said phone scams are common. DeAngelis was given a flyer like one officers hand out in the community. It has an important reminder: “If you receive a phone call demanding payment, it’s a scam, hang up!”
Police said the victims’ ages range from the 50s to over 90. Nobody was hurt in any of the incidents.
Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting 274637.