The Red Boiling Springs Police Department is appealing to the public to be aware of scam artists who attempt to get confidential information and monies from unsuspecting victims. A senior-age couple in Red Boiling Springs were the victims of just such a scam this week— nearly $1,000 was extracted from them over the phone within a few hours.
“They’d received a phone call stating that it was the Publisher’s Clearing House, that they’d won a bunch of money,” said Jimmy Morgan of the RBSPD. “That they needed them to go to a grocery store, and get one of those prepaid type debit cards and put money on it. They wanted them to put $480. And I asked them, ‘now why would they want you to do that?’ But they’d been told that they had to pay a fee for this money to be deposited in their bank account.
“So they went and got the card, and the whole time they were doing this, the man kept [the wife] on the phone. So they did all that, and then went to the bank, and—no money. So she calls him back—and the man said ‘well, it didn’t work, do it again’. So they go back, put $480 on another card, give them the numbers, go to the bank, and no money.”
Morgan said the couple was actually going to the bank each time and borrowing the funds, and the bank was trying to dissuade them from doing so: “The bank questioned it the first time, throwed a fit the second time,” said Morgan. “So after the second time, she calls the scammer again. ‘Well, you need to put in another $370.’ So they go back to the bank to get another $370 and this time the bank refuses. Thank God, or it would have happened again.”
Morgan said that since the wife was on the phone with the scammer throughout all the transactions, she was actually talking to him as her husband drove the car through the drive-through at the bank to take out the money. “The teller was trying to tell them [that it was a scam], but the man on the phone kept saying ‘no, no, this is real.’”
The Red Boiling Springs Police Department advises that anyone who receives an unexpected email, text message, or phone call requesting personal or financial information is advised against clicking on links or responding to requests for information. You should not provide any information or send any monies, particularly if you did not buy a lottery ticket or enter a contest. Persons who provide personal details, bank information or send monies could become victims of financial fraud. Once the personal or financial information is given to the scammer, it is almost impossible to recover the monies.
“This is the first one I’ve seen here in RBS, and I’ve been back for two years,” said Morgan. “There were a lot of these in Clay County when I was over there. And they’re hard to deal with. You trace the number for months and months just to figure out where it even came from. Once I spent about six months on one—and turns out it was some number out of Jamaica. That one, they took her for $5,000.”
He also pointed out that it is often the elderly who are targeted in such schemes. In the event of a financial scam, contact your local law enforcement agency.