I have to share a couple stories today about scams. I’m hoping you share and explain these stories to all the elderly people in your life.
The first is about a nice older gentleman who received a phone call from his grandson stating he was in jail in Cleveland and needed bond money. The grandson told our victim not to tell anyone he was in jail because he didn’t want anyone to know and to call this attorney to help arrange for bond. He provided the attorneys phone number for the victim to call. Our victim called the number and the attorney explained how to bond out the grandson. It requires going to Walmart to get “cards” with monetary value (usually green dot cards). Once the victim got the cards he was supposed to call the attorney back and give him the numbers so he could bond out the grandson.
I’m hoping the theme of this scam sounds familiar to most of you. 1. Family member in jail. 2. Don’t tell anyone. 3. “Gift cards”.
The victim came to the police station for help because Walmart wouldn’t sell him the cards. We told him his grandson was not in jail and he was being scammed. The victim tried to reassure us that he spoke with his grandson and he was, in fact, in jail. We tracked down his grandson and got him on the phone. He was NOT in jail. He was at work. It still took a little time to convince the gentleman everything was alright and his grandson was at work, not jail.
The second story is about an elderly woman who received a phone call from the IRS. The caller tells her her tax man never filed her taxes for the last several years and ran off with her money and unless she immediately went out and bought green dot cards she was going to go to jail. Did I forget to mention this woman has had a family friend do her taxes for nearly 40 years. It took a substantial amount of time and several phone calls to convince her this was a scam.
What I find very interesting is these elderly folks believe 100% in the authenticity of the first (scam) phone call and are willing to sacrifice thousands of dollars on it yet, even though they are talking face to face with a uniformed policeman and sometimes family members its hard to convince them the first call was a scam. If they would be as skeptical with the first phone call these scammers would be out of business.
Don’t let your parents or grandparents become a victim to these scams. These scammers tell a very good story including names and other details to make their story sound real. If their stories didn’t sound legit they would never get any money. Tell the elderly NEVER to wire money, buy gift cards, or do anything else with their money based off phone calls or emails. Legitimate businesses, the government, attorneys, etc never use gift cards in place of cash. When in doubt, contact your local police department.