Two Polk County elderly people scammed out of $65,000 | #scams | #elderlyscams
The sheriff’s office says they were tricked into thinking their family members were arrested and needed money to bond out of jail.
POLK COUNTY, Fla. — At least two elderly people in Polk County have been scammed out of more than $65,000 because they were tricked into believing their loved ones were in trouble and needed the money, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to deputies, their investigation began March 13 when an 85-year-old woman contacted them saying she had been called by someone claiming to be her son telling her he had been in a car crash and was being arrested. She told them her “son” told her to contact his lawyer, “Walter Bennet.”
The woman reportedly told deputies when she contacted “Walter Bennet,” she was told her son had been arrested and she needed to pay $18,800 to bond him out of jail. Deputies say the woman agreed and a courier was sent to her home to pick up the cash.
The woman then reportedly told deputies she got another call about an hour later saying the car crash was “more serious” than originally thought and more money was needed to bail her son out of jail. Another $18,800 to be exact.
She agreed, according to deputies, and another courier was sent to pick up the additional money.
A few hours later, however, she found out her son hadn’t been in an accident or arrested, the sheriff’s office said. That’s when deputies say she contacted them to report what had happened.
On March 23, deputies say a woman from out-of-state contacted them because she was concerned her 83-year-old mother, who lives in Winter Haven, had been scammed.
The woman reportedly explained to deputies she had been contacted by her mother’s bank after her mother had taken $15,000 out of her account one day and another $15,000 the following day.
Detectives say they learned the elderly woman had been called by someone claiming to be her grandson’s attorney. The scammer reportedly told the woman her grandson had been arrested and needed money to be released.
The woman reportedly got another call the next day and was told they needed more money.
Similar to the other elderly woman scammed, a courier came to the woman’s home to pick up the money both times.
The sheriff’s office says detectives are still investigating and searching for the people involved.
“These scammers are disgusting,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “They take advantage of parents and grandparents, using fear and appealing to the victims’ compassion and love for family. They trick people into believing that the victims’ loved ones need help, and know that out of the goodness of their heart, the victim will do whatever it takes to help a family member.
“My advice is to never send money to someone you do not know. First talk with a trusted family member or friend. The likelihood is that you’ll discover your loved one isn’t in trouble after all.”
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