Sheriff's officials want to warn you about a new twist on an old scam that has already claimed a handful of victims in Pasco County.
The call comes from Canada. The caller poses as a relative and claims some hardship like a car accident.
Can you send money?
Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said the cases are difficult to solve and suspects are virtually impossible to find. And once it's sent, he said, "generally, the money's lost."
A Zephyrhills woman who was victimized to the tune of $1,000 got a call this month from someone claiming to be her favorite grandson.
"Jonathan?" the 82-year-old woman asked.
"Yes, it's me, Jonathan," came the reply.
He had been in a crash and needed money. The woman wired $1,000 from a nearby Wal-Mart to a business in British Columbia. When she spoke later to her grandson, she realized she'd been defrauded.
A similar scam befell a couple in Trinity last month, sheriff's reports say. They lost $5,610.
Tobin said elderly residents are being targeted. The Sheriff's Office has received at least six cases fitting that model in the past few months.
He encouraged people to remember to verify a caller's identity, not give out personal information such as names, and talk to other family members before sending any money.
"They're going on the goodwill of a generation that would not hesitate to help a relative," he said.
Molly Moorhead can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6245.