Boston scammer steals $54,000 in fake ‘bail’ from Omaha grandmother

An elderly victim lost thousands of dollars in an old scam; but thanks to quick reaction from family and law enforcement, not all was lost.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 12:24 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An elderly victim lost thousands of dollars in an old scam; but thanks to quick reaction from family and law enforcement, not all was lost.

She shared her story with 6 News in hopes that other senior citizens might be saved money and heartache.

It started with a heart-stopping call about a crash.

“He was crying and said, ‘Grandma, I love you.’ It sounded just like my grandson, but I think it was because he was crying,” she said.

After an accident that she’s told was her grandson’s fault, he was supposedly put in jail and needed a big bond paid to be released.

“If I don’t send bail, he’ll be locked up,” she said. “He wouldn’t tell me where. I asked him, ‘Where did it happen?’ and he wouldn’t say.”

But it’s a lie that will cost this senior citizen thousands of dollars.

“I kept paying and praying and saying, ‘Oh God, please send me this money back.’”

The victim actually sent three packages of cash to the scammer totaling $54,000. They told her to put the bills in between the pages of a magazine and tape it shut, then put the magazine inside a bubble-wrapped envelope, and stuff that inside a box to ship it.

But if anyone asked what’s inside, “if they ask you, tell them it’s family pictures,” she said.

The victim’s daughter, Deb Cox, gets several packages a day at her Country Sampler Quilt shop and quickly contacted the right person with the shipping company.

“Was digging through a semi-truck for three hours trying to find this last package, and she found it,” Cox said.

That saved her mom $4,000.

A second package containing $25,000 has been recovered by detectives in Boston, where it was shipped. The family is hoping that cash will be returned soon.

“And she would like it since they have that money,” Cox said. “It’s a little peace of mind that she’s getting some of the $54,000 back.”

But a third package, also stuffed with $25,000 in cash didn’t get stopped in time. So, after being tricked into sending $54,000 total to a phone scammer, the 85-year-old got back a little over half.

“Well it helps a little bit,” she said. “But I wish I could get it all back, and I wish they would catch the son of a bitch.”

The victim won’t be caught off guard again. Relatives are now on her bank account and will be alerted to any large cash withdrawals.

Boston Police told 6 News they’ll deal directly with the victim on returning the recovered cash, but so far neither she nor the family have been told when.

What to watch for

To avoid falling victim to cash scams, some tips for seniors include:

  • Contacting relatives before sending any money to strangers.
  • If the caller tells you not to talk to anyone about the money, that’s a red flag.
  • If they encourage you to lie if asked why you are withdrawing cash, then don’t do it.