At least two victimized in Oro Valley phone scam - FOX Carolina 21

At least two victimized in Oro Valley phone scam

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Scammers are preying on people trying help out their families in Southern Arizona.

In the last two weeks, at least ten people in Oro Valley have gotten calls from fake law enforcement officers asking for money, and it's working.

The most recent case happened on Tuesday when an 81-year-old grandmother was taken for $2,000 and nearly lost more.

Another Oro Valley resident learned on Tuesday that somebody on the east coast was attempting to use their credit card, after talking to an unidentified caller who recently obtained information from the person in Oro Valley.

These are the kind of cases that really hits home for a lot of people because we all have somebody in our lives who is potentially vulnerable.

An isolated loved one, oftentimes elderly, answers the phone and hears from somebody saying a relative of theirs is in trouble.

In many cases, the knee-jerk reaction to this is, "How can I help?"

That's exactly what happened when an 81-year-old Oro Valley woman received several calls on Tuesday from a person posing as law enforcement.

The alleged officer told the woman her grandson just got into an accident and that she needed to send $2,000 to pay for the damages.

The man on the phone told her to go to the store, purchase two pre-paid credit cards and then to call him back with the numbers on those cards.

That's what the woman did and her money was then gone, almost immediately.

But after doing this, the man called back saying he needed another $2,000 because damages were worse than originally thought.

Fortunately, the woman's bank and real grandson ultimately got involved, after the bank contacted him, and prevented any further loss of money.

Still, this is a classic example of how people are being taken advantage of, according to the Oro Valley Police Department.

"Our community is really being targeted by these people. Just this week alone, I know of at least eight reports," Sgt. Dean Nesbitt says.

And oftentimes, it’s happening to these people out of the goodness of their own hearts.

"If you get a phone call saying it's a representative of law enforcement calling you and they need money over the phone to pay for some sort of crime, whether it be an accident or bond money...we're not going to collect money over the phone from you," Nesbitt says, referring to law enforcement agencies everywhere.

"Don't give any detailed information. Don't give any money, call your local police agency and we'll do what we can to find out whether it's legitimate or not."

In some cases, callers will go as far as putting a fake family member on the phone, just for a second, saying they need help, but don't have time to talk.

Bottom line, if you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a call, call that family member yourself.

Never commit to anything over the phone, especially money or financial information.

If you still have questions, contact your local police agency immediately.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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