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Odds are good that police in Brookline didn't just arrest your grandson on drug charges that they'll take care of for a $9,500 cash payment

Update: Three charged in similar scam involving a Brookline resident.

Cambridge Police report some Cantabrigians didn't fall for a little across-the-river phone flimflammery yesterday:

Officers met with residents who stated that around approximately 10 a.m. they received a phone call from whom they believed to be their grandson, who had stated to them he was just arrested by the Brookline Police. The suspect stated that he went to Brookline with a group of friends for one of their classmates/friend’s funeral and that he missed the bus back and was getting a ride from a friend. The suspect then stated that the cops had pulled them over and that they found $90,000 worth of drugs in the car and that he had been arrested and that they took his cell phone and put him in a holding cell. The residents stated that a guy who stated his name was an Officer with the Brookline Police Department got on the phone and began to explain the situation and told the residents that they believed their grandson was innocent and if he cooperated with them and testified against his friend that they would give him bail. The "Officer" then stated to them that they handed the case over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because of how many drugs were involved. The "Officer" then stated that the residents needed to give them $9,500 US dollars and to not tell anyone about what is going on and that they need to call a number when they have the money and they will be able to pick up their grandson.

Cambridge PD alerted Brookline PD and adds that the Cambridge residents "never exchanged any of the requested money. "

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Now, Brookline cops are free to run that scam when they find cars with tens of thousands of dollars worth of drugs inside and the accomplice/innocent victim gives them their grandparents' phone number!

And nobody will believe the grandparents when they try to blow the whistle on the cops!

But obviously they do.

Too bad they couldn't play along and call back to say, "OK we've go the money" and have the cops waiting there to grab the thieves.

I have friends who got caught in one of these schemes in which someone had hacked the kid's e-mail and wrote "Mom and Dad, I'm in trouble" and they paid. If your kid is in a country with a dubious legal system and someone says that they are in trouble, it's very easy for the emotions to take over.

Sometimes, there's an obvious give-away. Someone called my mother claiming to be a grandchild in trouble. She blew him off when he used the wrong nick-name.

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This happened to my dad who was in early stages of dementia and he was totally sucked in. It was very upsetting for him and us as well, thankfully he couldn't manage a transaction and my mom intervened. Here's hoping there's a special place in hell for those who prey on seniors and those with cognitive disabilities.

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She was saved by not knowing how to do a wire transfer (she was in her 90s.) So,even though my "son," who was supposedly arrested in Mexico, told her not to tell me, she called me. I called his cell, and he assured me that he wasn't in Mexico, or arrested, so I was able to calm my mom.

Tell the old folks to always call the kids and verify that they are OK.

People can be really disgusting.

They said they were some elderly family friends. Fortunately, I was in contact with their kids and opened another window to chat. Then I had me some fun with the scammers.

I strung them along, got their contact info for the cash, then asked them what my brother's name was. There was no way for them to hunt through the elder friend's files as my brother isn't on facebook. The reaction was hilarious (but I have a head injury from the robbing!).

My experience is that the money isn't picked up locally. It's wired, usually to a foreign country, via Western Union. If they haven't already, Walmart and other Western Union outlets should have a policy where a question is asked, "Is this financial transfer related to a recent phone call for bail?" If the answer chooses to answer and the answer is "yes," then a few more questions could be asked to quickly determine fraud. Most PD's have a crime prevention officer available to speak about schemes like this.

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Western Union does make you read a whole bunch of scam warnings before you send money.

They can keep little Timmy, his ass ain’t worth a plug nickel.

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Because a 15 minute drive across the river would pretty much clear things up...

They are likely located in India in a tiny office with a call bank.

They're not using land lines to make these calls, surely? And since they've got access to VoIP...

(I know, I know. Criminals are dumb in addition to being geographically challenged!)