Rash of attempted scams target elderly

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office reported a week filled with attempted scams — and Sheriff David B. Shoar warns residents, especially the elderly, to be cautious when asked for personal information.

A 78-year old Ponte Vedra Beach woman reported a scam that netted the swindler over $5,000 this week. The victim told deputies that she received a telephone call on Monday from a male subject who identified himself as a bank manager. This subject told the victim that an unknown subject at the bank had recently removed money from her account and they needed to conduct an investigation with her assistance. The subject told the victim to withdraw $5,600 in large bills and then respond to a grocery store parking lot to meet with an investigator. She was told that she would be contacted Wednesday morning. The victim agreed to assist the subject who sounded believable. After turning over the envelope with over $5,000 in cash, the victim told the deputy that she had a bad feeling about the transaction, but was hoping that she would be contacted Wednesday. When that call never came she reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

Other scams have been reported over the past week; however, the victims, for one reason or another, did not lose any money.

An 82-year old Ponte Vedra Beach woman reported that she received a telephone call from a subject claiming to be an investigator with the U.S. Customs who stated there was a warrant for her arrest out of the Dominican Republic for purchasing illegal prescription drugs through the mail.

The scammer told the victim for $15,000 she could have the charges dismissed. A short time later she was told that the “judge” lowered the amount needed to $1,500. The calls stopped after the responding deputy intercepted another call to the victim.

An 80-year old St. Johns County man told deputies that he and his wife received a phone call Wednesday morning from a woman who claimed to be their granddaughter who was in jail in Canada and she needed $4,200 to post bail. The victims could not reach their granddaughter and they went to withdraw money from their bank. As the victim was waiting to wire the money to the scammer, the victim’s granddaughter returned their call and they halted the transaction.

These scams can be received in many formats, the telephone, Internet and, just yesterday, a St. Johns County business received a fax reportedly from the U.S. Department of Transportation requesting the company’s banking information. A company representative conducted online research and discovered that it was a scam.

There are many additional types of scams that you should be aware of and that are currently being attempted not only in St. Johns County but across our country. For additional valuable information please visit the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office website at www.sjso.org.

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