Senior citizen reports local scam

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

A long-time Ridgecrest resident and senior citizen reported being scammed last week by a team of crooks working together. The victim wanted to be sure others in Ridgecrest knew about the team’s modus operandi.

The senior, who requested anonymity, got a phone call at home March 12 during lunch.

“The young man on the phone sounded exactly like my grandson,” she said. She knew her grandson was preparing to go on an extended business trip.

“The young man said he was my grandson and was in Canada, attending the funeral of a friend, in a place called Fair City. He and several others were out touring the area after the funeral when the police pulled them over for speeding. He said the police officer found marijuana in the trunk of the car and everyone in the car was arrested,” said the senior.

“The young man told me to call Police Officer Mike Miller of Fair City and gave me a number to call. When I did, the man who answered said he was Officer Mike Miller of the Fair City Police.”

The senior identified herself as the grandmother and said she wanted to help out. The “officer” told her that the grandson had been tested and found “clean,” but he still needed to appear in court to get the charges dropped. The “officer” gave her another phone number, supposedly of an “international bail bondsman,” and advised her to go to her bank, get out a certain sum of money, then go to Walmart and purchase a “10-minute” moneygram for the amount and mail it to an address in Panama City, Panama.

As soon as she mailed the envelope, she realized this might be a scam, so she called her grandson on his cell phone.

“Guess what? He was not in Canada, he was in Riverside getting ready to go on his trip,” said the senior. So she went to the Ridgecrest Police Department to report the crime.

An RPD employee advised her that scammers can be very clever in how they trick their victims.

“I don’t know how he was able to imitate my grandson’s voice to a ‘T’ like that,” said the victor. “I was so sure it was my grandson that my vision was clouded and I didn’t realize it was a scam until it was all over. I want people to be aware this can happen, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

According to the Internet, “Fair City” is a soap opera originating in the United Kingdom, with some episodes set in Canada.

Story First Published: 2013-03-20