COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Colonie Police are crediting a local grandmother for helping them arrest a man accused of trying to scam her and others out of tens of thousands of dollars. News10 Anya Tucker spoke with her about how she made a call that helped officers catch the alleged thief.
It’s called the Grandparent Scam. When a caller cons their victims into handing over large amounts of cash in order to keep a grandchild or loved one out of jail.
A Colonie grandmother who News10 is calling “Sue” in order to protect her identity, almost fell prey to the scheme when she received a call from someone who sounded just like her 15-year-old granddaughter. “And she said, ‘Wait, Grandma, here’s the thing. I got in trouble,” she said.
The young woman told Sue that the “trouble” was a car accident. But the girl on the phone told Sue that her friend’s father, an attorney, could keep her out of jail. “And he got on [the phone] and he introduced himself,” said Sue.
The man calling himself a lawyer said all he needed was 15-thousand dollars cash for bail money. “And he said, ‘Well, let’s put it this way. I’ll put up 5 thousand from the firm if you can get the other.’ And I said, ‘Ok.’ Well, I’m thinking right away, I need to call my daughter. He said, “Here’s the thing. This has to be done quickly,” added Sue.
The man on the phone said he would send someone to Sue’s address to pick up the cash in an hour. But, before heading to the bank Sue thankfully went against his instructions and called her daughter who told her to call the police. They arrived and an arrest was made when the man went to her home to collect the cash.
Colonie Police charged William T. Comfort of California with Attempted Grand Larceny and as a fugitive of justice on a warrant out of Wisconsin.
Deputy Chief Bob Winn told News10 that his investigators believe Comfort is responsible for at least one other successful scam in the Capital Region, in which he received a large amount of money.
“She did a great job,” said Winn. “And we would ask anybody that’s out there, all you need to do is make a phone call to your local police department.” He added that these types of scams are going on all over the Capital Region and the country.
Sue offers this advice, “Even if it sounds exactly like your son your daughter, your grandchild, you’ve got to call someone.”