Local Victim Sends Around $185,000 in Cash to Scammers

Scam Alert feature iconPress release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received reports of a Social Security Administration scam targeting local residents.

According to one report, a female victim was contacted by someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration (SSA), the words “Social Security Office” appearing on the victim’s caller ID. The scammer told the victim that they were going to cancel her Social Security benefits due to a law enforcement investigation involving her. The scammer told the victim that no law enforcement action would be taken against her if she mailed them cash immediately.

The scammer instructed the victim to wrap cash in foil, package it and then send it to addresses located in Illinois. The victim sent approximately $185,000 in cash to the scammers.

Several versions of this scam have been circulating the nation this year. According to the Social Security Administration, SSA employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a few limited, special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone. If a person receives a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, citizens should report that information to the SSA Office of Inspector General (OIG) at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/reportOpens a New Window..

If a person has questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy.  (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that law enforcement and other government agencies will never demand payment in exchange for dropping a warrant or stopping an investigation. Additionally, no government agency will ask you to mail large sums of cash or pay with gift cards or pre-paid money cards.

Visit https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds#item-35157Opens a New Window. to learn how to report scams.

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38 comments

  • I had one call me saying they were from ATT and direct tv saying my mother owed like 175 dollars to them . My mother has been deceased for approx 4 years I told him ,and he had a India accent i told him i pay the bill every month on time I then hung up, so if anybody out there gets the same call hang up it’s a scam .

  • Wow. I mean “wow.” Just give the money to me next time and I will double it at any casino. NOT.
    “Stupid is as stupid does.” sheesh

  • Wait a minute… 185,000.00 in cash? What non criminal has access to that kind of cash? Did she just walk into the bank with a withdraw slip and they gave her 185k? Something’s fishy.

  • Is that a typo? How did this person get $185,000 in cash?!

  • You can buy the device at RadioShack that allows you to call through your computer and make up any number, any area code you want. Internet is another good spot to find them.

  • “Wrap… in foil” lol that’s not a red flag or anything.

  • i been staying at moms in fortuna since early october cause she in hospital and her phone has had a dozen of those scam calls i laughed at .
    but i tell you , they sure could fool lots of people .
    got calls on caller ID from washington state , texas and virginia
    even had a few saying they were DEA and due to drug convictions they have placed a lean on the property unless we pay them .
    watch out , and dont let them little ole gullable ladies answer them calls .
    all the calls had on caller ID social security or a few had DEA

  • Only a not all there person would do this. WTF. Who’s got that just sitting in on the shelves inside the drywall. ? GeeZe. Here’s your sign.

  • Perhaps,perhaps not

    A few things.

    1. The amount of money listed is probably 5-10 year’s worth of retirement benefits. I don’t think the individual really gave any thought to what she was doing.

    2. I don’t see how any normal person could generate that much cash unless they have a super successful drug business. I’m sure if you walked into a bank and either tried to cash a check for or ask to withdraw that much cash someone would want to meet with you and discuss the transaction, and perhaps even try to convince you to take a bank check instead if your explanation seemed reasonable.

    3. For the 2 reasons above I think that the scammed amount reported in the article is likely grossly exaggerated. Even getting 10% of that amount ($18,500) would most likely give a bank pause.

    • Any transaction over $10000 in cash requires the business or bank notify the Treasury department.

      • sorry it is down to 3k now for deposits. it is called a SAR. However while folks can ask there is still a law that requires banks to hand out cash if it is requested. all that being said i still dont trust banks and believe that stash spots are the bwst place to store money paper and other wise. it isnt like the 3.0 percent most banks offer is worth all the hassle they put folks through.

  • How could someone so gullible have amassed so much cash? A fool and his money are soon parted.

  • Could be one of the busted coke dealers wives/relatives…

  • 1. The victim could have a mild form of dementia.
    2. The victim probably pulled the money from a CD or Roth IRA not a checking account or cache hidden in the walls.
    3. I wonder if the victim’s family figured it out & notified HCSO.
    4. It’s true that $185k is about 10 years worth of Social Security so it would be a wash which brings me to #1.
    5. Does the wrapping in aluminum foil block USPS’ scanners from registering cash?
    6. Sure would be nice if these f-s got arrested.

    • They purposely pray on the elderly. There not on social media getting constant updates about new scams and your definitely right most if the people they scam have dementia or Alzheimer’s or just age related degeneration. Very sad and I wish more of them where caught!

  • Unless it was all hundreds; that must have been a pretty big and heavy box. Definitely bet it cost an additional 15-30 bucks to ship it. Either way, sounds like some scammer is gonna have one hell of a Christmas

  • Unbelieveable. So sad too. Seems like someone at the bank should have alerted authorities that a senior was stockpiling cash.

  • I have zero sympathy for people that get scammed like this. It amazes me they reached old age being as oblivious as they clearly are. Life is tough, which is a lesson best learned young – it costs less – but I guess its learned by this poor sap now. And a lesson worth every cent!

    • You have no clue. Dementia is real and many of us or a family member or a loved one will be affected by this disease eventually .

      • dis-ease.

        The comedian Lewis Black once told his story of a flight he took from L.A. to Chicago. While in flight, he read a 36-page article about diabetes – saying that by the time he landed . . he had diabetes!

      • Generally when people have dementia they’re not allowed access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash..

    • The universe can be quit funny, I wonder how it’s gonna make you turn out in old age after you judge the elderly like that. Don’t tempt the universe to give you early onset dementia.

      • The universe is funny, but if you get on it’s bad side, it will give you early onset dementia.
        Although I went to school, I don’t remember reading this in any text book.

        I wonder, am I suffering from the universe’s wrath?

  • Disgusting supervisors

    Wow. Absolutely no street smarts whatsoever!!! Guess those annoying phone calls will keep coming cuz they actually get stupid suckers. Lol

  • Answering machines work. Don’t pick up if you don’t wanna talk to the dark side.

  • Fuckers call me all the time, at first I was really pissed off because they called so much, now I fuck with them and waste their time when I can, the still call but not as much, I changed my number twice and they still call, try to get them to send you money, sometimes it’s hilarious. I always wondered who would be dumb enough to send money until it happened to my grandma, they definitely pray on the elderly, special place in hell for them.

  • People actually answer the phone? I screen each and every call and have a great call blocking app (Should I Answer) to permanently end unwanted calls.

  • HCSO is clearly spreading “FAKE NEWS” as this is simply too ridiculous to believe.

    You folks need to remove the fishing hooks that are stuck in your cheeks!

    • Ya think?

      Remember, it’s the “Office” in action releasing the fear factor. False Evidence Appearing Real.

      I think the one later today about businesses and bitcoins was enthralling. You and me, and us, and we, are footing the bill for this nonsense. The sock puppets perform, as per the “Office”, public theater in exchange for a paycheck.

  • Or it could be some grandma whose pot-growing useless shit-for-brains grandson has been giving her shoe-boxes full of cash to hold. Seeing that he has no need for it, feeling that he didn’t earn it anyway, and needing a little vacation to take her mind off of the nefarious shenanigans of her offspring, she concocts the whole tinfoil-in-a-shoebox story, stashes the money, calls the cops, and acts confused.

    Oh, shit. I probably just gave Granny away.

  • It seems like if someone is together enough to have $185k, ( easily accessible ) that they would be too smart for this scam. This story is just not quite all there.

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