Phone calls from families and friends are welcome because these are people you trust. However, because you have to provide your number on public forms – like when you apply for a credit card, your number may get into the hands of telemarketers. There are also several ways scammers get your number, such as when you enter contests or fill a lot of surveys.
Such is the story as authorities report that an elderly couple in Ormond Beach was scammed of $16,000 in cash after an unknown caller impersonated their granddaughter, claiming to have been involved in an accident and needing desperate help.
The impersonator told the couple, who have memory issues, that she had been in an accident, in jail with injuries, and needed bail. Police believe that a second suspect was involved in the scam. The couple recalled that a second individual claiming to be a lawyer urged the couple to make arrangements to free their granddaughter. The scammers then informed the couple that a courier would come to pick up the money.
Quick to help their loved one in need, the ninety-year-old couple drove to the bank and withdrew $16,000. Apparently, upon confirming that the grandparents had the money, the scammers devised an elaborate plan to get the money with minimal margin for incrimination.
Recounting the incident, Ted Teschner, their son-in-law, said the scammers held his father-in-law’s attention on the phone and directed his mother-in-law to walk down the driveway. There, she handed over the money to a courier waiting in a vehicle.
While the grandmother did not get a good description of the suspect, she did recall that the suspect was a stout white female in a gray or silver sedan. A review of surveillance cameras in the area did not yield actionable information to the police.
Upon getting the money, the scammers terminated the call. Desperate to confirm that their granddaughter was safe, the couple called her number. Only then did they discover that she was safe in North Carolina.
Teschner says he was sure the scam was intentional, but he was more concerned for the safety of the elderly couple. Since the scammers had the barefaced audacity to show up to their home, he worries they could return for more nefarious acts.
“They could have hurt them. They could have gone in the house and taken one hostage, you know? They could come back today and do that same thing. It is a bit frightening.”
North Carolina law enforcement tells residents to be wary of unknown callers, especially when these callers demand money over the phone. Scammers reportedly go to great lengths in executing phone scams. However, these individuals are not infallible to technology. Residents can choose who calls their phones. Better still, they can uncover the identity and location of the unknown caller using a reverse phone search. Armed with this information, one can block or confront the scammer when they call.