Grandparent Scam: London, Ontario, Elderly Man Beats Scammers Not Once, But Twice

It was a typical Tuesday for 84-year-old Mabel Beharrell until she got the call that would turn her world upside down. Her teenage grandson was in trouble and needed her help.

“I have grandchildren and it kills me to think that something like this is happening to them,” he said. “And I would do anything to help my grandchildren.”

The story was that 16-year-old Mitchell had been driving with friends when police stopped them. Drugs were found in the car and Mitchell ended up in jail.

“He said, ‘I need $8,000 to get out of jail today,’” Mabel explained.

He then found himself talking to someone claiming to be an RCMP officer.

Before long, he felt that something was wrong.

“I told him: ‘Look, I want my grandson’s last name’ and he repeated himself. I told him: ‘I’m not going to tell you anything until you give me my grandson’s last name.’ He got angry and hung up the phone,” Mabel said.

She then reached out to her son, David Beharrell, who confirmed that Mitchell was safe at home, saving her money and headaches.

But this wasn’t the first time Beharrell had been close. About a year earlier, she received the same type of call from someone who spoke just like her grandson Mitchell, and who she believed him to be.

Mabel Beharrell of London, Ontario. She proudly points out photographs of her grandchildren on March 28, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)Just like this last incident, he found himself talking to someone claiming to be from the RCMP. The scammers needed $10,000 of Mabel’s money to free her grandson.

When she explained that she didn’t have that much, they reduced the amount to $7,500.

They even sent him a taxi, which he took to the bank. She was about to go in and send the money to the would-be scammers when something came over her.

“And I don’t know what made me think of that, but I said to the taxi driver, ‘Who pays for this taxi?’ And he said it was. I said, ‘Oh no, I’m not.’ I’m not going to pay for you. I did not call you'”.

She ended up taking the cab home and paying a reduced fare of $20, as the U-Need-A-Cab driver acknowledged that the elderly woman had been a victim.

It was a small price Mabel had to pay, rather than part with $7,500.

She’s already escaped scammers twice, but her son David worries that the next time this happens she won’t be as resourceful as she was the last two times.

“She worked for her money,” David said. “She shouldn’t have to reveal it like that. As you already know, for scammers. Just like these scammers, as far as I’m concerned, they should all be locked up. “They are scamming people.”

84-year-old widow Mabel Beharrell talks to CTV News London about how she almost became a victim of a grandparent scam on March 28, 2024. (CTV News London). London Police Service Detective. Sean Harding, of the Financial Crimes Unit, said three in 10 fraud victims are re-victimized.

Harding said it’s perfectly fine to hang up when you get a call asking for money.

“Don’t get into a conversation with them,” Harding said. “They are professionals. They know what they are doing. They know how to convince you. They are called scammers for a reason.”

Harding advises using the so-called 10 and two rule, which allows for a second and third opinion and a sober second thought before parting with your money.

“Whenever there is a request for money, no money comes out until you wait 10 minutes and talk to two people. It’s just a great way to recognize that fraud might be occurring,” she explained.

As for Mabel, it has been a disturbing experience that she is still trying to overcome.

She hopes other seniors can learn from her ordeal.

“I tell you sir, I got so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed. Today I feel a little better, but I am still unbalanced,” she said.

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