Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Elderly Targeted In Local Phone Scams

old-woman-senior-citizen-on-phoneThe San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office has received reports of phone scams being conducted in the area.  On May 9, a resident of Nipomo received a phone call from a person identifying themselves as a representative from the "National Health Association." The caller was looking for personal information, including the resident's checking account number. The caller said they needed the information for a new medical card that was going to be delivered to the resident.

Sensing it was a scam, the resident did not provide the correct information and started to ask questions about the organization. The caller became agitated and finally hung up. If you suspect the caller is part of a scam, you simply hang up. 

Within the past two weeks, the San Luis Obispo Police Department has responded to several calls from elderly residents who have been defrauded of thousands of dollars in what is commonly called the “Grandparent Scam.”

In these types of scams, suspects will call an elderly victim and claim to be a grandchild, nephew, niece, or other relative.  The suspects will tell the victim that they have been arrested in a foreign country or have been in an accident in a foreign country and are in need of money for bail or medical expenses.

The scam will often utilize a second suspect who will pretend to be a lawyer, doctor, or other “official” who will instruct the victim on how to send the money.  Victims are told not to discuss the transfer of money with family members or are given instructions on what to say at financial institutions if asked about the transfer.  The suspects will pressure the victim to act quickly.  Suspects will ask for money to be wired via Western Union or Money Gram.

If you find yourself receiving one of these phone calls, you can protect yourself by;

-Notifying law enforcement immediately

-Resisting the pressure to act quickly

-Contacting your family to determine if the call you received was legitimate

-Never send money by wire based on a request made over the phone, especially if it is headed overseas.

In two recent cases, over $80,000 and $50,000 was transferred via wire service to Canada and Mexico.

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