A Glen Rock woman in her 80s wrapped $12,000 in cash and sent it to phone scammers who convinced her that a relative in trouble needed it, authorities said.
One of the scammers called the victim claiming to be the relative and then put an accomplice posing as an attorney on the phone, Police Chief Dean Ackermann said Monday.
The “attorney” told the victim that the relative was in jail and needed the cash sent by UPS to an address in Memphis, TN, Ackermann said.
Last Tuesday, the woman sent the package, which UPS tracking confirmed was delivered to the Memphis address shortly before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the chief said.
“When the same person called back requesting additional money, she realized that this was likely a scam,” Ackermann said.
Police everywhere say such scams have become all too common, separating innocent victims from their money.
Heartless phone scammers stole $7,500 from a frightened Saddle Brook woman who was fooled into thinking her grandson had just been arrested after an accident. READ MORE....
A 78-year-old Glen Rock man fell victim to the scam when he wired $12,500 to a con artist a little over two years ago. The caller claimed to be the victim's grandson and said he was being held on DWI crashes after an out-of-state crash, Ackermann said. READ MORE....
So many people have fallen for the "relative in trouble" phone scam that the FTC said it contributed to combined losses to victims across the U.S. of $328 million in a single year.
Victims 70 and older have suffered the highest average losses, the AARP reports.
Glen Rock detectives were investigating with their colleagues in Memphis, the chief said, although the odds against recovering the cash – much less finding the thieves -- was nearly impossible.
HERE's WHAT TO DO if you ever get a call from or about a grandchild or any other relative in danger or trouble and needing money:
- Take a moment to calm yourself;
- Say that you must consult another family member first;
- Hang up and call a loved one.
- Then call police.
"If the emergency is by any chance real, you can still respond appropriately," Ackermann said. "If it's not — and the odds point to that — congratulate yourself."
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have elderly parents, relatives or friends, please share this story with them. Warn them about the dangers and advise them on how to respond.
ALSO SEE: The closing of banks in China because of the coronavirus has made it more difficult for authorities to investigate a wire fraud that cost a Glen Rock medical services company $100,000.
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