Elderly targeted in scam

December 30, 2010 • Local News

Cons are usually played out on TV sitcoms like cable channel TNT’s critically- acclaimed Leverage. The Attorney General’s Of fice of Gary King released a statement Monday warning consumers about a Goodwill Industries of New Mexico and Salvation Army sweepstakes scam making its rounds.

According to King’s deputy director of communications, L ynn Southard, some are calling it the “grandparents” scam. Here’s how it works: Unsuspecting seniors receive a call from a scammer posing as a [auth] representative for Goodwill Industries or The Salvation Army. Callers are told that they have won $800,000, but must pay an $800 fee to claim their winnings.

A consumer in Indiana who witnessed the scam, told the scam artists that she could not afford the $800 fee, so they offered her $3,100 of the money up-front. According to reports, the consumer was an unsuspecting elderly woman who took the $3,100 check to the bank, which happened to be a fake. “They told her that she had won $800,000 from the sweepstakes,” Southard said. “In order to get that money, she was going to have to send them $800. She told them that she didn’t have $800.” This classic con plays on the good-hearted elderly of the community, who are seeking to give to charitable organizations over the holidays.

“These are [charities] people usually give money to,” Southard said. “We got this information out, because it’s the holidays. Elderly folks that get these sort of calls…seem to be the ones that are hit [with the scam].

The scammers are smart.” If you feel like you have been conned or are a victim of the “grandparents” scam, contact the attorney general’s of fice at (505) 222-5000. The attorney general’s of fice is also encouraging consumers to file a report with their local police department.

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