FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A man who scammed an elderly person out of $10,000 cash earlier this month by pretending to represent an attorney has struck again, with the same result.
Fort Wayne Police said Wednesday another elderly person was scammed out of $10,000. The latest scam took place around 1 p.m. Monday in southwest Fort Wayne, the department said.
It was the same story:
A man came to the victim’s door and said he was an employee for an attorney that was representing a family member of the victim in a case, and said he needed cash for payment. The victim’s family member was impersonated over the phone.
Police said the victim in the most recent case was told by the scammer to lie to the bank personnel if asked about the reason for the withdrawal of $10,000 in cash and say it was for home improvement.
Detectives tried calling the number used by the scammer – (646) 741-8382 – but were met with a recorded message that simply said “leave a message,” police said. There was no owner or number identification associated with the recording.
In the first scam, the man was described as a Black man with short hair and a medium or muscular build. He was wearing glasses and a black face covering, and a white puffy coat with “Armoni” written all over it, but in this most recent crime, he was wearing different clothing. A description was not provided, and the victim did not get a photo.
Anyone with information on the man should call the Fort Wayne Police Department at (260) 427-1201, Crime Stoppers at (260) 436-7867, or use the anonymous “P3” tips app.
The police department said residents should “always be aware of demands to pay in cash,” and verify the credentials of anyone who asks for payment for a service.
“Never render payment at your home,” the department added. “If unsure, get more information before paying or if possible, pay at the business who is providing service.”
The Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana shared tips with WANE 15 on how to avoid scams. In scenarios where someone is calling you or at your door:
- Ask questions
- Ask for them to come back later, or allow you to call back
- Call family members or people you trust
- Ask for identification
- Search whatever is being requested of you or someone is trying to sell you online with the word “scam” after
- visit the BBB’s scam tracker, which shows you reported scams across the country and where they’re happening
“Just ask questions. What we know is scammers hate questions. They take up time. Time is money for scammers. So, the longer that you hold them in one place and the more questions you ask them, they’re going to get antsy about that. Eventually, they’re going to run out of answers,” BBB of Northern Indiana’s Director of Communications Nichole Thomas said.
Thomas, along with FWPD Sergeant Jim Seay said the biggest thing that helps scammers these days is social media.
“You have all this information, and it’s just out there for the taking,” Sgt. Seay said. “They take it and then they contact the relatives and they use all that against them.”
Thomas said just keeping your account private isn’t enough these days because hackers can access your friends’ accounts.
“We just have to be more diligent about what we post and put out into the public because while there used to be some regulation around it, really, you never know who you’re sending that information out to,” Thomas said.