Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in a small community such as this feel protected. However, scam artists are still alive and well, even operating on folks right here in Wheatland.
At the request of the victim, the name of the targeted person will not be included in this story. However, BE AWARE that what happened to this lady could happen to any of us who are trusting individuals. Here's the scene that was played out:
A local grandmother (who has probably the most trustworthy college grandson around) recently received a phone call. The man identified himself as Mike Johnson, a lawyer in Niagra Falls, NY. He said that her grandson was attending a wedding in that town and had been picked up for driving under the influence. He was in need of $972 bail money if he (the lawyer Mike) was going to be able to get her grandson out of jail. (The dollar amount being requested of this lady was below $1000 because if it’s $1000 or more and the scammers are caught it becomes a felony.) The supposed grandson (with laryngitis) came on the line telling his grandmother he needed the money and where to send it. He needed to get it right away so he could catch his flight home for the ballgame the next day.
Little did the caller know he was dealing with a pretty savvy lady. First, she knew her grandson well enough to know this was not in his character to be involved in this kind of behavior. Secondly, she knew not to give bank numbers or any other information blindly over the phone.
'Grandmother' hung up and called family members and Barb Jones at First State Bank. Jones told her to ignore the call but play along like she was going to send the money Western Union in order to glean all the information possible. The perpetrator went so far as to call back and see if "Grandmother" had gotten the transfer number written down correctly.
“Grandmother’s” daughter was at her home when the perpetrator called back. She was able to get much information from him. At the family’s request, please be aware of that the following numbers and names were used by the scammers! Diago Resi Mike Johnson 514-553-6885--a Quebec, Canada number 438-931-5292 905-577-9786
This not the first widowed person to be scammed. One local, elderly lady was scammed out of $2500 to help pay for her grandson's "hospital bill so he could have care."
Scams do not just happen to the elderly although they seem to be more prone to it than others. Let this be a warning to any of us who answer the phone and there is someone telling a catastrophic story attempting to frighten. In this time when health care is in disarray and the economy is terribly unhealthy, there are lazy, cheating, lying people who will do anything to steal from others using any means, method or words possible. It's a sad commentary on our society when trust in our fellow man cannot be trusted! If anyone should call you with a hard luck story or a catastrophic tale—HANG UP!