Someone tried pulling this scam on my mother-in-law a few years ago. She didn't fall for it. But in this era when grandchildren are often raised in distant states and voices aren't so familiar, it's understandable how some grandparents might be victimized.
A few weeks ago, I got an message through the email account of a member of a former parish. It included her name and that of her husband in the body. It said that they were in England, where all their credit cards and cash had been stolen. The email went on to say that in order to get home, I needed to let them tap into my credit card to the tune of $6500.
The whole thing was absurd; there's no way this couple would have contacted me for money. Besides, I knew from Facebook that they had been in the US at the same time the bogus email claimed they were in England.
But I can see how this scam could be as convincing to some people as the grandson-on-the-telephone scam.
Like many other Christians, we Lutherans often confess to God that "we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves." Christ does free repentant sinners of their slavery to sin, of course. But sin--the inborn impulse to treat God and others with contempt--is a strong force in the world. (To confirm, look at the home page of any online news source.) The Bible teaches this. So, honestly, I am never surprised by the wrong that people do.
But it does underscore the wisdom Jesus gives to those who follow Him: "Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16).