Column: Scams still happeningIt happened again. Another Mitchell resident has fallen victim to a disgusting telephone scam, and no matter how much we try to get the word out, it’s probably going to continue.
By: The Daily Republic, Worthington Daily Globe
It happened again.
Another Mitchell resident has fallen victim to a disgusting telephone scam, and no matter how much we try to get the word out, it’s probably going to continue.
In December, we reported that a Mitchell woman was taken for $3,000 when a man claiming to be her grandson called, needing bail money after a mishap in Canada. She was convinced, and wired the cash.
Now come reports that others have been similarly taken, including another local victim of the Canada scam and one more who was bilked of more than $500 in a scam based in Jamaica.
These scams come with many facets that make prosecution difficult.
For one, money that is wired to Canada, for instance, can be picked up basically anywhere — not necessarily the site to which it was wired, according to local police. And since the recipients of the money are using fake identification, it’s next to impossible to track them if they do pick up the money at the arranged site.
Too, the crimes are technically occurring outside of the United States, and that muddies police jurisdiction.
And finally, police and employees at cash transfer sites are simply having a tough time convincing people that these scams are ever present. The next victim is out there today, and perhaps will fall for a telephone or e-mail scam even after reading this.
We feel South Dakotans are generally honest folks who won’t turn their back on someone in need. Our older generation especially grew up trusting others, and we figure that’s why South Dakota’s elderly are being targeted by these miserable crooks.
It’s tough to counterbalance that basic instinct to help.
If you want to protect your parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles from these scams, we suggest readers make a brief visit or telephone call and warn those loved ones of the dangers of sending money to unknown places.
A simple and reassuring reminder from a trusted friend or family member probably will help more than any police press releases or newspaper clippings.
Make the call.