Scheme targeting the elderly shows up again

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A central Indiana couple is out of more than $1,000 because of a telephone scheme.

The woman, who only wants to be identified as “Gloria” got a call Monday morning from a man who said he was her grandson Michael.

“He said, ‘Grandma, don’t you know who this is?,’” said Gloria. “And I said no, I don’t recognize the voice.”

But after a few minutes on the phone with this person, Gloria was pretty convinced she was talking to family. The person on the other end said he had a cold, and that may be why they couldn’t recognize his voice. And a bad connection only made things worse.

“The phone was really buzzing, it was distracting, and our hearing’s not the sharpest, especially in a phone that’s crackling and popping, so that was another problem,” said Gloria.

It was a problem that was disguising the fact that Gloria was talking to a con-man. She and her husband had what she called a “pleasant” conversation with the person for several minutes, and then the call took a turn.

“I said, ‘Your aunt Debbie is here helping us, would you like to talk to her?’ And he said, ‘No, in fact I don’t want anyone in the family to know what’s happened.’”

At that point Gloria panicked.

“What went through my mind was oh my gosh what does he need,” said Gloria.

The man said he needed Gloria to wire him $1,200 right away, to bond him out of jail. He said he got into some trouble and didn’t want anyone in the family to know.

“We were under a bail bond 2-hour restriction, we had two hours to post this,” said Gloria. “They knew how to do this, that Michael could be in Cancun on vacation with a friend at work.”

Gloria said the whole experience was emotionally invasive. She said she believes the schemers knew family names from information they found online.

Now police are warning everyone to beware. They say before you wire money you should:

  1. Call family members to see what’s going on
  2. If they give you an agency name, look up the number for yourself. Schemers will not provide a good number, which is a huge red flag.

If you believe you’ve been victim of a scheme, call police right away.

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