Scammers Target Elderly Edmond Woman

Thursday, October 25th 2012, 6:09 pm
By: News 9

An Edmond family nearly fell victim to scammers, and experts say it was a classic situation that families need to watch out for.

It started with a call from Mexico. A man claimed to be the victim's grandson. Cindy Emery is the victim's daughter-in-law and credited an app on her phone for helping the family figure out the whole scam.

"He said, 'Well I'm sorry I sound funny. I was in a car wreck and I hurt my nose. My nose is bandaged and I sound funny. We came down to Mexico with some friends. We rented a car, we had a wreck. I'm in jail and I have my attorney here and I need you to send $2,000 to get me out of jail,'" Emery said.

Emery's mother-in-law was in the process of wiring that money to the people posing as her grandson in Mexico. Using a friend-finder app she recently installed onto her iPhone, Cindy was able to track down her son's phone. He was safe at school in Stillwater, not in a Mexican jail waiting on bail.

The scam was a bit more elaborate than some. When Cindy's mother-in-law questioned the caller about his situation, he passed the phone over to a phony lawyer who urged her to quickly get the money and wire it to them so her grandson could get out of jail and back to the United States without anything on his record.

The wire was sent before Cindy and her husband could stop it. Her mother-in-law went back to the bank hoping the money had not been collected.

"She went up there and told them what was going on and they said, 'Okay.' They checked and they said well it hasn't been, the number hasn't been received, no one has called in and gotten the number so we can cancel it,'" Emery said.

When retirement community owner Jim McWhiter heard about this scam, he was not shocked. He said scams like this are nothing new, and numerous seniors fall for the trickery because the scammers know exactly how to prey on them.

"If somebody creates that sense of urgency and you've got to act now, then don't do it," said McWhiter. "Just pause and investigate. Call one of your family members. Talk to a manager at a retirement community, if you live in a retirement community. Call a neighbor. Just run it by somebody else before you react."

McWhiter has even heard of similar calls targeting senior living communities and said these people will stop at nothing in order to make a quick buck.

Police say seniors often don't report scams. If you have been scammed or someone attempts to scam you, the best course of action is to contact your local police and file a report.