North Platte resident Viola Schultz, 82, was surprised and scared Friday to get a phone call out of the blue from a grandson who said he needed help. It wasn’t her grandson, it was a scammer who wanted after a bundle of money.
Schultz got the call a little before noon from overseas. The caller said he was her grandson and he was in a jam – in a jail overseas.
The caller spun an elaborate tale about going to a concert with a friend overseas, having a couple beers and hitting another car on the way home.
His face had been cut. Two people in the other car were hurt, the scammer said, and he needed money to pay for everyone’s bills and get himself out of jail.
If he could get the money, his record would be cleared, he said.
Schultz was scared but not tempted. She said she didn’t have any extra money. He asked for her credit card number. She said she didn’t have a credit card. He asked if she could possibly get a loan. She declined.
He talked for about 10 minutes, but she wasn’t fooled.
“It didn’t add up at all,” she said. “I didn’t have the money anyway, and I think if they get in that position themselves, then they have to stay there.”
“I might be a little hardhearted, but that’s the way I feel,” she said. “I said I’m flattered that you called me, but sorry, I can’t help you at this time.”
When Schultz hung up, she called her son. He said “no way” was it any of her grandchildren.
Then she called the police. After that, she called the Bulletin.
“People need to know about this stuff,” she said. “I was scared. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me.”
Schultz doesn’t know how the caller got her name, but she said too much personal information ends up on the Internet.
My granddaughter puts things on facebook,” she said. “I wonder if it came off of that. That’s the first call I ever got.”