Phone scam targets island woman, scammer makes off with nearly $8,000
By RICHARD D. OXLEY
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
September 19, 2012 · 1:25 PM
Bainbridge Island police have recently warned of scams targeting the island's elderly, but not everyone heard the warning.
On Monday, Sept. 10 another scam was reported to island police, one that almost cost an island woman nearly $8,000.
A resident in the Winslow area noticed unusual transactions on her bank account and was encouraged by friends to report the incident to police.
Two withdrawals — one for $2,759 and another for $5,177 — were taken out of the woman's bank account without her approval.
While speaking with the woman, police discovered she had a new phone friend who had been calling her and had obtained personal information.
A man named "David" recently began calling the woman and said she won a sweepstakes.
Initially she won $50,000, but on a later phone call, "David" said she won $500,000 and that she would have to pay the IRS taxes on her winnings.
From there the man was able to obtain personal information from the woman such as her maiden name, birth date and age.
The woman said that "David" was very nice and very charming. She said that he had an accent, but didn't know where it was from — possibly South America — and that "David" was from Las Vegas, Nev.
But police were able to hear his accent first-hand, however, as "David" called the woman while police were speaking with her at her home. Police answered the call.
Police reported that "David" spoke with a Jamaican accent, and he insisted on speaking with his lady friend. He said he was calling from California and that he was concerned for the woman, as he had known her for a very long time and that they had gone to school together.
When police asked "David" how old he was, he said 97 years old, though he sounded in his 20s or 30s.
The officer on the phone wasn't buying the caller's story and told him she thought he was scamming an elderly woman out of her money. "David" then hung up.
According to police reports, the withdrawals were made using a debit card and the cash was used to purchase money orders from the Bainbridge Island Post Office. The money orders were then mailed to an address in Vineland, N.J.
The woman's bank took a report on the fraud and refunded her money.Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Richard D. Oxley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 842-6613.