Message from the Chief – Sophisticated Fraud Scheme – I want to share a special caution with folks about a recent attempt to steal money from an elderly resident. Criminal attempts of this nature are running rampant in the Coastal Bend nowadays.
A great rule of thumb to live by: When in doubt, give us a shout. We want to hear your suspicion and help protect you from becoming the next victim.
This past Monday, a resident approached and said her father had received a suspicious phone call. She said the caller identified himself as a relative and her father, who is in his 80s, believed the person was who he claimed to be. The caller said he was going to drive up from the Valley for a visit. The concerned resident’s father was excited to report to the family the impending visit.
[blockquote quote=”Remember! If you are in doubt, give us a shout! Share your concern or suspicion with us or a close relative. Sometimes a neutral third party is all it takes to determine if the suspicious activity is legitimate or not.” source=”Chief Eric Blanchard” align=”right” max_width=”300px”]A short while later, her father received another call from the “Valley relative,” stating he was involved in a crash in Premont, Texas. The relative asked for several hundred dollars. The father was told to send the money to another person in Mexico, who in turn would get the money to Premont.
Concerned, the father contacted his daughter in Aransas Pass to share the news. Rightfully suspicious and recognizing the event as a scam, she instructed her father to refrain from sending money, but he insisted. She eventually contacted the actual relative in the Valley and had him contact her father to convince him that everything was OK.
This event marks a new level of sophistication used by some fraudsters. We believe these scam artists are probably in Mexico, where the money was to be sent. Unfortunately, we lack jurisdiction to pursue criminals into Mexico. Had the father sent money, he would have been out of luck on ever getting it back.
Further, neither the father nor the Valley resident are active online. Neither uses social media or the Internet to conduct business. Neither of them knows how the criminal was able to make a family connection and provide information about the relationship, addresses or contact information.
Criminals are increasingly conniving in their efforts to steal from you. Our best advice is to never share personal information over the phone unless doing so knowingly and with someone you have sought to communicate with directly with.
Typically, no one should ever solicit money or personal information by calling or emailing you for that information.
Remember! If you are in doubt, give us a shout! Share your concern or suspicion with us or a close relative. Sometimes a neutral third party is all it takes to determine if the suspicious activity is legitimate or not.
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Get the jump on scammers before they get the jump on you! Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website and sign up for their alerts. Be the first to know when the fraudsters have a new tick up their sleeve!
Knowledge is power.
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