Local law enforcement agencies are cautioning area residents to be on alert following several scams involving elderly individuals being taken advantage of by fraudsters posing as attorneys.
Opportunistic scammers have been preying on the elderly around the country, posing as attorneys and demanding thousands of dollars in cash in bail or bond money for an alleged grandchild who they claim is in trouble.
Last month, an 88-year-old woman in California was contacted by a man who claimed to be an attorney, according to New Haven police investigators. He allegedly told her that her grandson was arrested and she needed to send $4,000 for bond money. Investigators have since released surveillance photos of the man shopping for electronics in Connecticut, including a big screen television.
According to a report out of Jacksonville , Florida, an 86-year-old woman was scammed out of $4,000 after a fake attorney demanded that she pay for Walmart gift cards to bail her grandson out of jail. The report states that the elderly woman gave the numbers on the back of the gift cards to pay the fake attorney. Soon after, her mother realized something wasn't right, and she went back to the Walmart.
In Illinois , a woman received a phone call from a woman claiming to be their granddaughter. The scammer went on to put a fake lawyer on the phone, who convinced the resident to go to Best Buy and purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards.
Police officials noted that "there are dozens of scams and confidence tricks that fraudsters use, but the goal is the same: they want to steal your money." In response, officials have offered a handful of tips for local residents to avoid becoming a victim:
- Never give your personal or bank information to anyone over the telephone, unless you know who you are talking to and the company they work for, and you are engaged in a willing and voluntary transaction;
- Don't give in to pressure to take immediate action;
- Hang up on suspicious phone calls;
- Verify information before taking action; ask family members or trusted friends for help.
- "Scammers often work by wire transfer. If you are asked to wire money, it is probably a scam."
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