The Vigo County Sheriff’s department would like to alert the public to a scam that’s been popping up in their county.
Sheriff Ewing says that senior citizens keep getting scammed out of thousands of dollars. He says that on Friday, a couple received a call from who they thought was their grandson, saying he was in jail in Mexico. The caller convinced the couple to wire $2,000 for his release, and put another person on the phone who was pretending to be a jail official. The couple was asked to wire the money to Haiti, and still believing it was their grandson on the phone, they went to a local Wal-Mart to make the transaction.
A Wal-Mart associate alerted them to the possible scam, and the couple called the grandson’s home in Florida – who was indeed home safe.
“Thanks to the observant and persistent Wal-Mart associate the couple avoided being scammed”…”And, if that transaction would have taken place they would be out $2000” the Sheriff Said. “There is no way to locate these scammers because they are usually overseas and phones are very difficult if not impossible to trace” Sheriff Ewing stated.
Sheriff Ewing says anyone could get a call like this. “My mother got the same type of call reporting that it was her Grandson in jail… The only problem with that is that her oldest Grandson is only six years old” Sheriff Ewing said. “That is when the caller hung up on her” he said.
Ewing is asking businesses who provide wire transfers to look out for people intending to send large sums of money – especially seniors. “We have seen an increase in reports pertaining to these scams”… “Our best defense is to educate our citizens and to look out for one another” the Sheriff said. He also asks banks to be on the lookout for people withdrawing large sums of cash. “I don’t want people to think of it as being nosey but rather safe from someone taking their hard-earned money” Ewing said.
Sheriff Ewing has assigned FSgt. Frank Shahadey to visit business throughout Vigo County that provide money wire services and make them aware of the scams and to be inquisitive just like the Wal-Mart associate. “Perhaps together, we can prevent scammers from taking our seniors money” Sheriff Ewing said.