Elderly couple scammed: how to keep your aging loved ones safe
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — An elderly couple tricked out of their life savings by con artists with an intricate scam.
Imagine being tricked out of your life savings, everything you’ve worked for, your home and your future.
That’s what happened to an elderly couple in Spokane Valley. The two were scammed out of $287,000.
Unfortunately this couple is not alone.
Senior citizens have become the top target for scams because most have a lot of money saved and they are often very trusting.
But, Sheriff’s deputies say, this was not the typical scam because it was alarmingly well done.
“It’s the American dream right? You work your whole life, try to save up so when you retire you can be comfortable and do whatever you want to be happy,” said Deputy Craig Chamberlin from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.
For this elderly couple that dream is gone.
“A couple in their late 70s, early 80s were scammed into thinking they were putting money into a fake lottery. To the tune of about 287,000 dollars at this point,” said Chamberlin. “It’s their nest egg and it’s gone.”
The couple closed their account at the bank this week. They did not want to go on camera because they were embarrassed and saddened that this was a scam and that all of their savings is now gone.
“The return they were told they were going to get was 18.2 million dollars and a free car,” said Chamberlin.
Exactly how the couple got involved in the scam is still unclear, “there’s kind of some grey area whether it was a phone call, an email, whether it was a fake lottery winning check… regardless… they bit,” said Chamberlin.
Unlike other scams, these predators did some research on where their victims lived.
“These folks in particular, they picked a random police officers name who worked in Ritzville where there is in fact a police officer with that name. They picked an attorney who was dealing with the tax law… there is a local attorney with the same name. Neither one were actually involved whatsoever, but they did their homework to make it look legitimate which the victim obviously thought it was,” said Chamberlin.
The elderly couple now has to liquify their assets, find a way to make ends meet, and it’s very likely they’ll have to sell their home.
“That whole dream is completely tarnished and disappears because some person is taking advantage of some folks that they can bully into or scare into making a really bad investment choice,” said Chamberlin.
The most common scams against the elderly are phony lotteries like this one and government imposters posing as representatives for Social Security and Medicare.
So how do you keep your aging parents and grandparents safe?
The best advice to give them is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and remind them of something they probably told you decades ago, don’t trust strangers, especially those seeking personal information or money.
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