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Eau Claire Police warn of phone call scams

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 6:21 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A delivery driver is credited with saving an Eau Claire woman more than $8,000.

That woman withdrew cash and sent it to New Jersey. This is after she got a call from who she thought was a family member claiming to be in trouble needing the money right now.

Unfortunately it was scam.

WEAU talked to someone else who said they almost fell for the same trick. And she’s sharing her experience so others don’t get ripped off.

Pamela Johnson from Chippewa Falls tells WEAU,

“They said grandma, grandma, I’m in deep trouble grandma, this is Taylor. And we do have a grandson named Taylor!”

Johnson is just one of many who have received a shocking phone call like this. She also explained,

"Grandma I was driving the car and drinking some wine and I got - and I said Taylor what were you driving for in the first place?"

Scammers are pretending to be family members, calling loved ones, and saying they need cash immediately!

Johnson says it sounded exactly like him".

Josh Miller from Eau Claire Police Department said,

“Sadly this is a very common occurrence. We see a lot of these types of scams. The kind of mechanisms are different but generally it’s the same type of thing, generally they tend to target the elderly population. There’s usually some kind of fraud in sending money sending gift cards”.

"I think they just pick older people because they're easy. The same thing happened to my mother and I had to get her out of it," said Johnson.

Often the caller says they are in jail, or injured and need money fast. The scammers get their victims to act quickly, and offer very specific instruction on how and where to send cash - even encouraging them to lie when they withdrawal money from the bank so that they don't raise any red flags.

“Unfortunately these are very difficult cases to investigate and prosecute. Like in this case we see this person is in New Jersey, sometimes we see they’re outside of the country,” said Officer Miller.

Although the cases are difficult to investigate, Officer Miller says knowledge is your best weapon in these situations.

“If anyone is ever asking you to send cash in the mail, it’s probably a scam, if they ask you to send gift cards that should raise some red flags right away. If you have any doubts about who you are talking to on the phone, just hang up.”

And thankfully Johnson made the right call,

"I said this is all a scam, you might as well forget me and i hung up".

Even though it can be difficult to investigate, the police recommend if you get caught up in a situation like this, to contact your bank, especially if you've shared account information.

Although it’s suspected that scammers diligently research and attempt to reach mostly elderly victims, anyone can get caught up in situations like this if they are unaware of this trend.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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