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Pasco deputies warn of scam that targets the elderly

Pasco sheriff's officials are again warning seniors to be on guard against a common money scam after two women fell victim to callers claiming to be their grandchildren needing money.

One woman in Zephyrhills wired more than $20,000 to a Western Union in Spain after a man claiming to be her grandson said he'd been in a car accident and needed money, according to a Sheriff's Office report.

Another woman in Holiday sent almost $3,000 to Haiti after someone claiming to be her grandson said he needed bail money to get out of jail, another incident report says.

In that case, the woman, who is 86, went to a Money Gram store in Walmart on U.S. 19. Employees there told her the situation was a scam and refused to send the money, the report says.

"She believed the individual she spoke with was in fact her grandson, so she travelled to (another Walmart) to complete the transaction," a deputy wrote in the report.

Law enforcement authorities have seen this scam repeated time and again, said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. People have been conned into sending money to Nigeria, London and even local destinations. It's often impossible to recover anything.

"There's not a whole lot we can do," Doll said. "So we just try to warn people."

Authorities urge people to verify a caller's identity if someone calls asking for money. Don't give out personal information such as names, and talk to other family members before sending any money.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Pasco deputies warn of scam that targets the elderly 09/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 20, 2010 10:05pm]
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