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Subject:  Facebook saga: Don’t be a grandparent Date:  11/15/2012  2:10 PM
Author:  yodaorange Number:  408628 of 481678

One of the ongoing concerns about “The Internet” is a loss of privacy. People routinely give out personal and private information without consideration that it might cause a problem. Facebook and the other social networking sites take this to a new level. We all understand that Facebook is immensely popular, particularly with the younger crowd. Apparently, many younger folks put a lot of information on their Facebook pages that is seemingly innocent. We must remember that crooks are always looking for any advantage they can get. Facebook is the latest tool in their toolkit.

This story is one that you could easily label as an “urban legend.” Only problem is that it is a REAL story. We know all of the people in the story. They are great folks from a great family, probably good role models for typical, average Americans. As Joe Friday would say, I have changed the names to protect the innocent. The main players are:

Ashley: Bright, personable Junior in a middle of the US College. High academic achiever, great grades, never had been in any kind of trouble anywhere, liked by all.

Lauren: Ashley’s long time friend and college roommate.

Ashley’s grandparents: Retirees, in their 70’s, living in small town USA, NO SIGN of mental decline. Not tech savvy. Not computer savvy. Love their granddaughter and would do anything to help her.

Friday November 9, 2012 (Edited for the sake of brevity.)

Grandmother receives a phone call: Hi grandmother, this is your oldest granddaughter, Ashley. I have a cold so I do not sound right. I have a problem and need your help. Lauren’s grandmother died and we drove to the funeral in Canada with two boys from school. We got pulled over by the Canadian police because a tail light was out. The police found marijuana in one of the boy’s backpacks. The police do not think I have anything to do with it, but they are going to hold me in jail until it is all straightened out. This is my only phone call, so I called you to ask for your help. Please don’t tell mom and dad, because they will kill me. Please talk to the Canadian policeman.

“Canadian Policeman” gets on the phone with grandmother. We don’t think your granddaughter had anything to do with the marijuana, but we have to hold her until a court hearing. It will be a few weeks, in December. If you want to get her out of jail sooner, you can pay $3,900 today and we will release her immediately.

Grandmother talks to grandfather and they agree to pay the money.