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'I Just Knew He Wasn't Going To Scam Me': Long Island Grandmother Helps Catch Alleged Scammer

SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A grandmother outsmarted some would-be thieves on Long Island.

Police say they intended to scam her out of thousands of dollars, but she wasn't having it.

The quick thinking of a 73-year-old Seaford grandmother -- who only wants her first name used, Jean -- is being credited for taking down an alleged predator.

"I knew he was a real scammer. I just knew he wasn't going to scam me," Jean told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon.

The former 911 dispatcher says Thursday morning, she received a call from someone claiming to be one of her grandsons.

The caller said he had been arrested for drunk driving and was in jail.

"He starts calling me 'grandma,' and then I'm like, I don't have a grandson that drives, so I knew it was a scam," Jean said.

Jean says she immediately knew the call was a hoax but decided to play along for fun.

After several calls back and forth, a person claiming to be her grandson's lawyer told her he needed $8,000 for bail.

"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," Jean said.

In the meantime, Jean also called police.

When a man pretending to be a bail bondsman arrived to collect the cash, she handed him an envelope filled with paper towels.

Waiting officers then pounced and took 28-year-old Joshua Estrella Gomez, from Mineola, into custody.

Police say Gomez was arrested and charged with attempted grand larceny in the third degree. He was issued a desk appearance ticket and will be arraigned on Feb 3.

Police says elder scams like this one are rampant.

Officers are asking the community to be on alert.

"Speak to your families. Speak to your neighbors. Visit those that are vulnerable. Let them know, don't listen to these scams," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "These individuals sit at home and have nothing else to do but think of a way to take advantage of our elderly."

Jean is also asking people to watch out.

"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.

She hopes her story will serve as a cautionary tale for others and is glad no one was hurt in the process.

While everything turned out OK for Jean, police say if you suspect a scammer, be sure to call the police first before arranging a rendezvous.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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