Thieves Getting Rich Off Scam Targeting Seniors In Metro

Wednesday, January 30th 2013, 9:47 pm
By: News 9

A scam targeting elderly people in the metro nearly cost an Oklahoma City man more than $2,000.

The would-be-victim is talking about exclusively to News 9 about his experience.

"Don't let anyone pull any surprises on you," Charles Greene said.

It's safe to say Greene has good judgment. He's made a career of it, officiating Big 12 football, basketball and baseball games. The veteran referee is now calling foul on people striking it rich off of others' hard-earned money.

"They do prey on your emotions," Greene said.

1/16/2013 Related Story: Telephone Scam Targets Elderly Residents In Norman

The scam started with a call from a man pretending to be Greene's grandson saying he was in Maryland and had just been arrested for a DUI. Greene had not talked to his grandson in a while and the actor was convincing, telling a story of how he needed $2,200 to get out of jail and pay a lawyer.

"I just figured I'd…wait until he got back home and then give him a piece of my mind," Greene said. "I thought it was more important to get him out of whatever trouble he was in."

Worried sick about his grandson, Greene did not think twice about sending the money. He drove to an Oklahoma City Western Union where he was alerted something wasn't right. A clerk told Greene the fake lawyer's name was one that had been seen come across the Western Union desk twice the day before. Greene was told he was being scammed.

"Suppose you get eight or 10, $2,000 payoffs," Greene said. "[You're] getting…a pretty good chunk of money."

Greene says it is important to verify people are who they say they are by asking questions. It's important not to be afraid of being skeptical or even cynical.

FBI experts say people who grew up in the 30s, 40s and 50s were generally raised to be polite and trusting, which is one of the reasons they are con artists' favorite targets.

Read more for information on how to identify these scams.