Denison Police are advising members the public to be aware of potential phone scams after a woman was reportedly defrauded of more than $6,000 recently.
Lt. Mike Eppler said officers were notified of the matter on Wednesday after the victim contacted police to report that she had been called by someone two days before, claiming to be from a bail bond company based in Houston.
“That person said one of her children, her son, was in jail and she needed to send gift cards or money cards totaling $1,500,” Eppler said. “She did that, but, the next day, she gets a phone call again. This time, the person was saying that there were more charges — $5,000 worth of them, now. She did that too.”
Eppler said the woman initially believed the caller, but realized she was the victim of a scheme when her son showed up at her house Wednesday for a visit and said he knew nothing of the story relayed to her.
The Denison Police lieutenant said phone scammers often prey on older victims, because they tend to be trusting and that scammers will generally use one of two approaches to convince victims that they need to send money in order to help a family member
“One thing they’ll try to do is try to convince the victim that they’re a relative and then they are willing give that money up a lot of times,” Eppler said. “The other they may say that their relative is in some kind of trouble and they’re calling to help facilitate in that process. Those are the two most common methods people use in these type of fraud schemes.”
Eppler said it’s often difficult for law enforcement to trace the source of such phone scams and identify those responsible, but there are ways people can protect themselves and their money.
“If somebody calls saying that there’s a relative in trouble or that they are the relative, then they should ask questions of the caller only that person, that relative would know,” Eppler said. “And if somebody says they’re helping an individual or a relative, they need to verify that’s true before they send any money. You have to make sure that you know who you’re dealing with and they’re legitimate. If that takes telling them that you’ll call them back, then so be it.”
The matter remains under investigation. Eppler said the department hasn’t received any other reports of similar calls in recent days, but anyone who believes they have been a victim of a phone scam and have lost money should contact their local law enforcement office.