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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Local family falls victim to scam

Friday, November 25, 2011

They didn't see it coming.

A local couple fell victim recently to an ongoing scam hitting many communities.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the couple -- who wished to remain anonymous -- received a phone call in regard to their "grandson."

They were told their "grandson" was in jail and needed money to bail out. Their "grandson" explained he did not want anyone else in the family to know what was going on.

"It was real," the female victim explained to The Brazil Times. "The guy impersonating our grandson. He sounded frightened. He sounded scared. That's the way he always talks to us.

"He told us what had happened. He was very upset. Supposedly, he was in jail."

The woman said they were informed their "grandson" was in jail following an accident that was supposedly his fault.

After talking to their "grandson," a "lawyer" came to the phone to further explain the issue.

"He started on me, and he brainwashed me," she said. "Everything was, 'Hurry. Do this and do that. And don't tell anyone.' He pulled all the right strings."

According to the woman, they immediately withdrew money from the bank and wired it to the perpetrators.

After the couple wired the money, they received another call.

"They called back for more money," she said. "There were so many red flags. But I didn't think about a scam. It didn't even enter my mind. It just went from one wild story to another."

She said they went back to their bank for more money. However, a teller at the bank immediately told them she believed they were being scammed.

"We just didn't accept it," she said. "We had to get the money. We weren't aware of it.

"But we were finally convinced, and we just sat there like zombies."

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times this scam is quite familiar.

"This is the same one. We just had one last week and it was with someone in our department," Heaton said. "It was down in Mexico, and they needed to send 'X' amount of dollars. It was just a scam."

Heaton said scams like this will not end anytime soon. He added even with rough economic times, these scams have persisted.

"This is about regular," he said. "It's just they always come up with different ways to be convincing, to suck people in. That is something people have to be aware of. What grandparent would not want to help a grandchild?

"That makes it easier. They become much more of a target for these types of scams. There's just those type of people out there that will prey on the vulnerable."

Heaton said it is important for anyone in the community to be aware of these types of phone calls.

"Anything over the telephone, especially anything involving a local family member, call local law enforcement, especially if you have caller ID," he said. "Never give out personal information."

But for the local family, the initial money that was wired is now lost.

"We don't have that kind of money, but it's gone," the woman said. "It's killing us both."

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The very exact thing happened to someone in my family recently! These scam artists are preying on elderly, often times during the middle of the night and catching people off guard. These are horrible, horrible people who are victimizing thousands of people. Everyone, regardless of age or time of day, PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN ANSWERING THE PHONE!

-- Posted by JaniLou on Sat, Nov 26, 2011, at 10:07 AM

If my father were to get a call like this he'd tell them to "rot in jail".

It's sad that these "predators" target the elderly. I'm sorry they lost money, but I'm glad they didn't lose any more. KUDOS to the bank for recognizing this scam.

-- Posted by Emmes on Mon, Nov 28, 2011, at 11:53 AM

I'm sorry to hear about what happened to the couple.We can't blame them. We may think a call's an obvious scam but if you happen to really speak with them on the phone, these scammers have so much under their sleeves. You can't just trust them.

This is why I don't pick up when it's an anonymous call. I let it keep on ringing till the caller hangs up. Anyway, if it's an important call, the caller would leave a message. If it's not, it won't.

-- Posted by bookishgirl on Thu, Dec 15, 2011, at 4:00 AM

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