Scammers prey on the kindness of family members
We are fortunate to live in an area where family and friends are quick to the rescue when someone is in trouble. But sad to say, the time has come for folks to protect themselves by being suspicious of out of the ordinary phone calls from supposed relatives who have found themselves in a jam.
Although it is human nature to want to jump at the first plea for help, a better tactic would be to take time to check on the whereabouts of the relative in question.
A few minutes – even an hour – is not a long delay, and that time may well serve to protect folks from a lifetime of regret and hardship.
These scam phone calls are widespread and seem to have increased recently.
One family, in Pocahontas County, who was scammed out of $5,000 this week wants their experience reported so as to prevent others from following in their good-intentioned footsteps.
Names and phone numbers of potential victims are easy to come by these days.
The calls all begin the same, and the caller has just enough information to get the ball rolling.
“Hello, Aunt [Mary]. Do you know who this is?”
Without thinking, a nephew's name is blurted out. The offender takes on the identity, and the scam is on.
The “relative” is usually presented to be a young man who has found himself in jail following a wreck and arrest for DUI, or some other accident. The aftermath of a Bachelor Party is usually reported to be the cause of his dilemma.
In an attempt to disguise his voice the “relative” is usually crying, and a second individual takes over the call – soon to be known as “the lawyer.”
This second individual does the negotiating with regard to getting your “nephew” out of jail. He asks that you send $2,500 in order for the judge to release your family member – and the scam continues.
Money must be sent by Western Union.
No credit cards.
Once the initial $2,500 is sent, the calls continue.
The “nephew” says he has to pay the car rental company for damages – another $2,500.
The calls continue until the scam is figured out. But unfortunately, for some people, it comes to a costly end.
The phone number and names that were associated with this week's scam are as follow: 438-935-7902; Allen Elder, Jr. and David Wiseman – the “lawyer.” One call reportedly showed up on Caller ID as “Canada.”
If you suspect that you are a victim of a phone scam – hang up immediately.
Never send money by Western Union unless you are absolutely sure of the intended receiver.
Report all suspicious phone calls to the West Virginia State Police and or the Pocahontas County Sheriff's Department.
This most recent scam was also reported to the FBI.
But once the money has changed hands, there is little that can be done.
Be prepared, be forewarned and protect yourself.