The Menlo Park Police Department would like to make the public aware of fraud that targets the elderly. Monetary scams have been going on for some time now, and most recently an elderly couple residing in Menlo Park was victimized by a “Jamaican lottery scam” with ties to a business named Global International. The Menlo Park Police Department currently has an ongoing investigation into this matter.
In this and other similar situations, the suspects typically target the elderly. They are often calling from areas such as Kingston Jamaica, Las Vegas or other blocked or unknown numbers. Once the suspects contact and engage the victims in conversation, they promise large financial gains, for short term loans needed to claim a prize that they have won.
Once a victim shows interest, the suspects become more persistent, often times not releasing the line on their end when the victim attempts to terminate the call, or repeatedly calling the victim several times an hour throughout the day and night asking for more money. The suspects will often have the victims write checks or wire large sums of money to persons acting as their agents in other states or countries. They are also known to have the victims purchase gift cards at local stores, then provide the card numbers to them over the phone so that they can redeem them for cash.
Other similar scams of the elderly include calls from subjects pretending to be a family member and claiming to have either been involved in an accident or incarcerated. The caller then requests that the victim wire money to them to assist with bail or legal bills. ￼￼￼￼￼
- In order to safeguard you from becoming a potential victim, some things to consider are:
- Have an unlisted phone number.
- Do not answer calls from unknown, blocked or private numbers.
- Never provide any personal information to anyone over the phone that initiates a call to you.
If you do pick up one of these calls, verify the information with family members prior to acting on what you are being asked or told to do.
There are several common fraud schemes that target senior citizens and the general public at large. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has listed some of the common fraud schemes and schemes that target the senior population. Please visit these links for more information: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors and http://www.fbi.gov/scams- safety/fraud.
If you believe that someone is trying to or has victimized you or a person you know in this manner, please contact your local police agency. The Menlo Park Police Department non-emergency line is (650) 330-6300.