Police warn of local scams targeting seniors

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 20 at 7:01 PM

SUFFOLK -- Police advise residents to be aware of scams that target seniors, some that have occurred in the Hampton Roads area recently.

Here's how it works: Senior citizens are notified by a man, who identifies himself as a court officer or police officer, that they have missed jury duty. The perpetrator attempts to convince the victim that a warrant has been issued for their arrest and they need to respond to the courthouse to be arrested or make an immediate payment to cover the fine - in the amount of $1,000 to $2,000. The perpetrator then directs the citizen to purchase a Green Dot Card, place the money on the card, and provide the card number to the caller.

Hampton police say a 75-year-old man feel victim to this scam on Dec. 12.  The victim was told he had to pay $2,000 to avoid arrest. 

Somebody also tried this scam on a Hampton woman on Dec. 11 but she didn't relinquish any money and called police. 

The perpetrators have not been arrested in either case. 

Police say in these types of scams, time, pressure and immediate payment are used in the perpetrator's attempt to get your money as quickly as possible and before you can stop, think or check on what they might be saying.
  
Police remind us that there will never be an occasion where an officer will direct someone to make a payment. 

Also, there is a process for person missing jury duty where you would need to be present.  There will never be an occasion where any warrant can ever be paid off and not served. 

This scam is very similar to scams where the con-man attempts to convince renters or homeowners that they are from a utility company and a service will be disconnected if immediate payment isn’t made by the citizen using a Green Dot Card or similar payment. 

Police also warn of another scam:  a person was approached by two suspects claiming to be from a foreign country who wanted to send money to a relative back home. After driving to a nearby church, the victim was told that the relative died and that the suspects had to give their money to someone as they cannot take it back home. According to police, the suspects convinced the citizen to withdraw money from their bank account and put it in a box to give back to the victim. After some distracting conversation, the suspects gave the citizen the box and told them not to open it until they got home. Upon opening the box, the victim discovered there was nothing in the box.

Police say if you are contacted by anybody demanding immediate payment, stop the conversation and ask for detailed information from the caller: who are they; what company do they represent; what is their address; what are the phone numbers to their company.  If you have no idea about the account they are telling you about, demand them to send you a copy of the bill.  Do not give out any information including address, phone number(s), your name, or any of your personal identifying information.

If you have been contacted by a person that you believe is attempting to scam you, document the telephone number, hang up and call the police.  If you are contacted in person at your home, close the door and call police.  If you are in a public area, leave the area as quickly and safely as possible and make contact with a business/manager of the property or location and have the police called.
 

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