More U.S. seniors being targeted by phone scammers, police chief says

Thousands of fraud transfers to Dominican Republic by Western Union - Below just 3 of the reported scams from national US newspapers in ine day!!


( - Several Nazareth senior citizens have fallen victim to a recent rash of phone scams, police Chief Thomas Trachta said.

Trachta said phone scam artists are calling borough residents and claiming to be family members, usually grandchildren, who are in trouble and in need of money. The scammers then request the funds be wired to an account in the Dominican Republic.

"They're targeting seniors," said Trachta.

With the average transaction at about $3,000, Trachta said that overall, Nazareth residents have collectively been conned for roughly $14,000.

Trachta said the scam is not limited to Nazareth and he has heard reports of similar conduct in Lehigh County.


Scam cons another Darien grandparent out of thousands

The FBI warned late last year in a press release that the agency has seen a "dramatic increase in the number of complaints by victims of (relative in distress) scams." These scams rely on the emotional response induced when a person is told that someone they love is in trouble and needs money immediately.

Three Los Angeles victims collectively wired more than $30,000 to foreign countries such as Lebanon, Spain, Italy, Canada, Dominican Republic and Peru. Prevention "in the form of education is the key to preventing the continuous problem," the FBI stated.


NEWS HERALD - It Was So Plausible

It began with a phone call from her son. 

"Grandma," he said. He never called her grandma before but he has a baby now so maybe he was joking. 

She said his name. Son is that you?

"Yes, mom," he said. 

Then he proceeded to tell her he had been at a wedding in the Dominican Republic and that he had gotten into some trouble. 

"I was in a car accident," he said. 

"Are you hurt?" she asked now starting to get worried and frantic. Just a little he replied. His nose had been broken and his lip busted. That must be why he sounds just a little different she thought. 

Now, to the point, he was in jail and he needed about $3,000 by 2 p.m. so that the judge will let him go. All she had to do was wire the money via Western Union to an address in the Dominican Republic. 

She didn't know where a Western Union was located in Panama City Beach. He said, let me call you back in 15 minutes. In 15 minutes he called back and gave her the location of two shops nearby. 

Worried and distraught she rushed to a Western Union and sent her "son" the money. It wasn't until later that day when her "son" called back to ask for more money to pay for medical bills that she realized something was wrong.

"At that point I woke up, I guess," she said. 

She had come to The News Herald's office on Wednesday. She had been scammed the day before. She did not want it to happen to anyone else.

"They play on your emotions," she said.

The emotions last for some time.  Before sending a second batch of money she called her son's cell phone.

"Where are you?" she asked.

He was in his office in California. When he found out what happened he was upset.

You know I call you every time I leave the country, he said. Why would I be in the Dominican Republic. 

She went to the FBI who told her that they were aware of the scam known as The Grandma Scam. What they didn't tell her but something I have heard over and over is that law enforcement is powerless to stop or catch criminals in foreign countries. The scammers operate in lots of places, even places you wouldn't suspect, like London.

Lots of people fall prey to this scam and other telephone scames every year.

She was just the latest.


Read also: Dominicans suck millions out of U.S. seniors


Watch Video: Dominican grandparent scam steals US$ 8400 from U.S. Woman


Read also: Americans targeted in online drug extortion scam involving Dom Rep


Dominican Watchdog Note | Western Union and the Dominican Police is doing NOTHING to track the people who receive the millions of dollars in the Dominican Republic!! Western Union should hold the funds back until address of receiver is verified by electricity bill or telephone contract in the name of the receiver. Futher to that take coipes of ID cards and initiate investigatation between US and Dominican police forces to arrest those who receive money through Western Union from phone scams.

Go back | Date: 20 Apr 2012
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