Grandma recently received a call from someone claiming to be me as part of an oft-performed con called the “grandparent scam.” As the deception typically goes, it was a guy saying he (I) was stuck in Ecuador with my friend Ryan (and I do have a close friend named Ryan), and that I was in deep trouble after having been caught with a small bag of cocaine. Point being, I needed money to get us out of Ecuadorian jail.
Don’t tell anyone, the scammer said. She was the only person I could call, don’t say anything to mom and dad, just please help by wiring $5,000 to me. Grandma was smart enough to figure the whole thing out, and the caller eventually hung up realizing his fraud attempt against a little old lady was futile.
My issue with the whole thing, however, wasn’t that some lowlife was trying to con my sweet grandmother out of a few retirement dollars. My problem, rather, is what if I someday find myself in Ecuador with my friend Ryan? Perhaps we’ve gone down for a long “guys weekend” of hiking Incan ruins, visiting historical sites along the coast, and ingesting massive amounts of cocaine into our noses and ears.
The trip quickly goes from narcotic-fueled to horrible after we are caught by the Ecuadorian policia and wind up in a jail cell. The cops find our “horse” (a common cocaine nickname). After pleading with the guards, I am given only one phone call. But unfortunately, I can’t call my grandma, because a con artist has already cried wolf and ruined any hopes I have of getting bailed out of Ecuadorian jail.
Grandma seems like an optimal choice for that phone call. I wouldn’t want to scare my wife who would also be mad because of the reefer (more cocaine slang), and when I got back to America after being released from Ecuador jail she’d probably make me do stuff on Saturdays as punishment since she knows I hate doing stuff on Saturdays (unless it’s cocaine-focused).
My parents would be enraged and mom, most likely, wouldn’t let me light the candles during Sunday dinners at their house, because she knows how much I like lighting candles (even more than “riding the horse”). I can do this cool trick where, using only one hand, I open the matchbook and light the match. The trick impresses many folks, but if I ever went to Ecuador jail for cocaine possession, I’d have to do my magic trick away from mom because she’d be all pissed off about the aforementioned jail-slash-cocaine issue.
I guess I could call my brother or sister, but maybe they won’t have phones in the future. Plus, I forget their names. Friends would be an option, but they may never look at me the same again once I return home, and I’d forever be known as “Mr. Cocainehead” - or even worse, by my middle name, which is Gary.
So it seems grandma will be a solid choice to help clean up the mess I plan get myself into down in Ecuador. And now, thanks to a fraudster, I have no one to call when I get out of hand and into a bind.
Although I guess Ryan could just call his grandma instead. Let’s hope she’s never been scammed before because then we’d really be in trouble.