In the past week the sheriff’s eldery abuse unit received information about two telephone scams that prey upon the elderly residents of San Diego County.
The first scam involved a suspect who claimed to be a relative of an
elderly woman whom he could not reach by phone. The suspect asked the
Sheriff’s Department to perform a welfare check on the elderly woman.
The deputy drove to the woman’s home and made contact with the woman who
stated she did not know the person who called the sheriff’s.
Additionally, the woman admitted that she had previously fallen for a
phone scam that had sent funds to a suspect via a money transfer
service. The responding deputy confronted the suspect via phone and
discovered he had used the department to try and reestablish contact
with the victim so he could continue the financial abuse.
The second scam involved an elderly male who received a call telling
him he had won a large sum of money in a sweepstakes but had to pay a
fee to receive it. The suspect identified himself as a deputy sheriff
and gave an actual deputy’s name. The suspect further stated that the
sheriff’s department was facilitating the money transfer. The victim
withdrew the money from his bank but decided to visit the local
sheriff’s station to speak with the deputy who allegedly called him.
Fortunately, the deputy whose identity was used was working that day and
able to prevent the victim from sending the money.
Impersonating a law enforcement officer or deputy is a misdemeanor
crime punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 or a year in local custody or
both. Obtaining monies by trick or device is a felony punishable by
time in state prison.
The public should be advised that the sheriff’s department does not
facilitate or participate in any sweepstakes, lotteries or other money
transfer schemes. Elderly residents should not send or wire transfer
money to anyone based upon a phone call or series of calls without
verifying facts first. Phone scammers routinely use money transfer
service to fleece the elderly and any reference to such services should
be considered a red flag warning. For questions or additional
information, please contact the San Diego Sheriff’s Elderly Abuse Unit
at (858) 974-2322.