Del Norte Sheriff Warns of Scam; Saves Woman $10,000
Facebook post from the Del Norte County Sheriff:
Yesterday afternoon a concerned citizen of Del Norte County contacted the Sheriff’s Office with a potential scam report. After conducting an investigation, the following information was discovered:
Elderly people within our community are being targeted by criminals to mail large sums of cash to addresses outside of the state. Due to the quick actions of a local resident that communicated with the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, we were able to retrieve $10,500.00 cash just prior to it being mailed to an address in Immokalee, Florida. The sender was contacted and the money was placed back into her bank account.
She was initially contacted via the internet and told a large sum of money was inadvertently deposited into her bank account. She was advised she would be in a lot of trouble if she didn’t withdraw the money and mail the cash to a specific address. These people that prey on our elderly can be very convincing and threatening. Our community member then did as she was told and started the process to have the cash mailed by FedEx.
After interdicting the cash and speaking with the would-be victim, a Sheriff’s Office business card was left with her. She was told to provide the contact information of the Sheriff’s Office to anyone that called her or contacted her and asked her to send them money.
What was even more alarming about this incident was that yesterday evening a caller made contact with the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office claiming to be the victim of the initial scam attempt. This individual actually called and spoke with the same person that spoke with the initial victim. The caller was obviously male with a thick accent. The caller provided a correct address, date of birth and phone number but was unable to pronounce the street name correctly and through questioning, it was determined the caller had no knowledge of where Crescent City or Del Norte County was actually located. The caller also had no knowledge of the family structure regarding the victim.
This information release has been created as a call to action for people in our community to help spread the word. The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office has reason to believe that this scam has happened without interdiction at least two other times within the recent couple weeks. Many times, once people realize they were swindled out of their money (often their life savings), they are too embarrassed to report it and we never receive a complaint. It is important to know that with regards to this specific incident, we did not receive a complaint from the actual victim. It was noticed by a concerned community member. It is equally important to realize these cases are some of the most challenging to investigate after they have been completed. They often cross international borders and all contacts are made by way of proxy servers and internet sources that camouflage their actual locations.
The key to our success with this specific matter is education. Please speak with your friends and family members. Let people know that it is never appropriate or secure to send large sums of cash through the mail.
As a closing thought, the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office would like to recognize and thank The Mail Room for instituting a new policy prohibiting the mailing of any cash sum of money exceeding $100.00 from their business.