Sheriff warns of phone scam
On July 24, the couple received a call from a man pretending to be a longtime friend. The caller told the couple he had been arrested for a DWI and for hitting another vehicle.
A second man, pretending to be the caller’s lawyer, called later and said the couple should send $2,800 to help get him out of jail.
The couple went to Western Union, but the company refused to wire the money, so the second person called again and told them to send the money through Walmart. The next day they received another call requesting $4,000 to cover doctor bills for the other driver.
About a week later, on July 30, the man called to say he didn’t get the money picked up in time so they would need to send more. The couple called Western Union and learned the money had in fact been picked up.
They called the man they were trying to help, and he told them that he had not been to Florida and never called them.
Detective Don Mauldin traced the calls to a cell phone in Montreal, Canada.
“If the person you are talking to on the phone can’t be positively identified by you, or a close relative that you know by voice then hang up the phone,” Carpenter said. “If the caller calls back, then hang up again and contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to report this. Never give anything out over the telephone or be tricked into mailing or wiring money to anyone without a verifiable, legitimate reason.”
The so-called “relative or friend in distress” scam is a nationwide problem targeting senior citizens.