Truckee senior loses $17K in lottery scam
An elderly woman who resides at the Truckee Senior Center fell victim last week to a telephone fraud that conned her out of nearly $17,000, authorities said.
A man contacted the 80-something woman and informed her that she won $500,000 in a lottery. In order to receive her winnings, she was told to send multiple payments via money gram to Bulgaria for customs clearance and tax purposes, according to a Truckee Police news release.
“Very little can be done for cases like this,” said Truckee Police Sgt. Dan Johnston in a phone interview. “This is a booming business and a booming problem.”
Police did not identify the victim of the telephone fraud.
After receiving phone calls for a week from the scammer, the victim contacted local police, who discovered that the phone number was a routing number and the concept was fraud, Johnston said in the release.
“This victim has no hope of ever recovering her money,” Johnston said. “When you start crossing international boundaries, the difficulty in tracing the suspect is enormous because there is no cooperative law enforcement in certain countries.”
Adult Protective Services in Truckee said they talk to elderly individuals on a regular basis about financial fraud prevention.
“In this particular situation, we had no notice,” said supervisor Jeree Waller. “What we usually recommend to seniors is if they’re getting unwanted phone calls, invest in Caller ID so they don’t pick up unrecognizable numbers.”
While it is common for con artists to target the elderly, the majority of victims in Truckee are not seniors, Johnston said.
Another common scam is a buyer in Truckee attempting to purchase a vehicle over the Internet and being told to send money overseas in order for the vehicle to be shipped, Johnston said in the release.
“The vehicle never arrives and the victims are usually out several thousand dollars,” he said.
Authorities advise Truckee residents to simply “hang up on these calls.”
“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” said Johnston in the report. “There is no way to get your money back…and the likelihood of prosecution is very slim to none.”
For more information on how to detect telephone fraud or to report a suspicious call, contact the Truckee Police Department at 550-2320.
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