Scammers are always thinking of new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting people with one of the more common victims being the elderly.
According to the FBI website, “each year, millions of elderly victims fall victim to some type of financial fraud or confidence scheme, including romance, lottery, and sweepstakes scams, to name a few.”
Typically, according to the FBI, seniors often are targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home and have good credit — all of which make them attractive to scammers.
Just this last Thursday in the local area, a person claiming to be their grandson called a Hardin County couple, asked for money to bail him out of jail and told them his lawyer would be calling them.
According to the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post, a person representing himself as a lawyer told the grandparents they needed $10,500 cash for the bail. He then told them he would have a bondsman in the area that could pick up the cash.
A white male parked down the street, walked to the residence and picked up the cash, the post said.
Sheriff John Ward said if someone receives a phone call from anybody wanting information from them, to be extremely careful.
“That’s what these predators do. They call and they prey, they usually prey on senior adults,” he said. “It’s unbelievable the information they get. ... All of this information, they’ll take and use it in ways to get funds from these people. Just be very careful in what information you give out especially over the phone to somebody, who you’re not even for sure who you are talking to.”
Ward said he knows of people in his own experience with scams in this area that have spent their life savings.
Most of the time when it happens, its hard to track. In his experience, Ward said it is very seldom the culprits are caught. Fortunately, for the Hardin County couple who fell victim to the scam last week, their case was one of the few that was able to be tracked.
Ward said Robert Sanchez of New Mexico was arrested Friday evening at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Ward said Sanchez was charged with theft of more than $10,000. A federal task force in Louisville and the IRS also are involved in the investigation. Ward said Sanchez’s arrest is just the preliminary arrest.
“I’m very pleased. ... It’s a tremendous feeling to actually have an offender in custody.” he said, calling it an outstanding investigation.
Ward said their office’s Facebook post regarding the crime had received more than 75,000 views. He said they even had a law enforcement agency in North Carolina see the post and reach out in regard to a similar investigation they had. Ward said there is an organized group going all over the country perpetrating these scams.
“The main thing is to use good common sense,” he said.
Although seniors often are targeted, everyone is at risk for scammers. Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. If you are suspicious of a call, text, email or some other form of communication, Ward advised reaching out to your local law enforcement agency.