LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Officials with the Lubbock Police Department are warning the public about recent scams which have been reported in Lubbock, targeting elderly people.
“There’s no shame in feeling embarrassed if you’ve been scammed. These scammers are professionals and have very believable stories. Lately, we’ve seen several members of our elderly community targeted and scammed out of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars,” said officials in a social media post.
Since February 27, there have been at least five reported scams where the victims are between 67 and 84 years old.
On February 27th, a 77 and 84 year old fell victim to a scam when the scammer called pretending to be a family member needing money after a car crash. They were scammed thousands of dollars by giving gift card numbers.
On February 28th, an 83-year-old victim was scammed after the scammer told the victim they won the sweepstakes from Publishers Clearing House. Since the victim recently entered the contest, the victim believed they won. The scammer sent the victim checks, saying to buy Amazon Gift Cards and provide the serial number on the back of the card to the scammer. The victim’s bank called and told the victim the checks did not clear. He continued to buy more gift cards, cell phones with service, an Apple MacBook, and a PlayStation 4 Pro. Every time the suspect asked for the items, he would tell the victim he was going to bring the vehicle the victim won in the sweepstakes and would deposit money into the victim’s bank account. The bank contacted the victim, saying it could be a scam. The victim stopped answering the scammer’s phone calls.
On March 6th, a 67-year-old victim received an e-mail requesting him pay a package from the niece that was in customs at Heathrow Airport in London England. His niece is in the military stationed in Afghanistan. The victim sent the requested amount to the Manrich Logistics company by a cashiers check through. The victim received no correspondence back once the cashiers check was cashed. The check was written for $100,000.
Police officials say many times the scammers are not in Lubbock or in Texas. They use spoof phone numbers to make it look like the call is being made locally. The scammers also ask for payments through gift cards, which is a red flag. “No business or law enforcement agency will request that you pay them in gift cards,” said LPD officials in a news release.
A few tactics by scammers include making you believe you’ve won the lottery or Publisher’s Clearing House, but you have to pay taxes or a one-time fee prior to receiving the cash. This is a scam.
Scammers may also target the elderly and prey on their emotions. They pretend to be a family member or friend in need of money because of a recent car crash or arrest. They get the victim to wire them money or give gift card numbers.
You may get a call from the IRS or Social Security Office, claiming you owe money and need to pay it immediately or you will be arrested. This is also a scam. Hang up, search for the business number and call that number to verify the information.
Talk to your family members, especially your older relatives. Make sure to never send large sums of money to a source that you haven’t checked - doubled checked - tripled checked- the authenticity.
The Federal Trade Commission website has more information about fraud and reporting scams. Visit their website at: www.ftc.gov