A local Eugene Cab Company recently alerted
the Eugene Police Department about a scam potentially targeting elderly people.
Eugene Hybrid Taxi Cabs had been called to pick-up elderly riders from Eugene
and surrounding areas. The request has been to take them to a bank so they can
send money to a family member. The cab company astutely figured out quickly
that this was a scam and despite continuing to receive these calls, they have
not been sending cabs.
The concern is that the local elderly population is being
targeted and the cab company is the transportation. This is a classic example
of the “family emergency scam,” where the caller represents themselves as a
family member in some sort of emergency of distress and in need of money.
Here’s how the family emergency scam works and what you
should do to protect yourself:
someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend in
desperate need for money, know that:
They impersonate your loved one
convincingly. It’s surprisingly easy for a scam artist to impersonate someone.
Social networking sites make it easier than ever to sleuth out personal and
family information. Scammers also could hack into the e-mail account of someone
you know. To make their story seem legitimate, they may involve another crook
who claims to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer.
They play on your emotions. Scammers
are banking on your love and concern to outweigh your skepticism. In one
version of this scam, con artists impersonate grandchildren in distress to
trick concerned grandparents into sending money. Sometimes, this is called a
They swear you to secrecy. Con
artists may insist that you keep their request for money confidential – to keep
you from checking out their story and identifying them as imposters. Victims of
this scam often don’t realize they’ve been tricked until days later, when they
speak to their actual family member or friend who knows nothing about the
“emergency.” By then, the money they sent can't be recovered.
They insist that you send money right away. Scammers pressure people into wiring money or payment by gift cards or prepaid credit/debit cards because it’s like sending cash – once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back. Imposters encourage these methods so they can get your money before you realize you’ve been scammed.
the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly
· Call a
phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
· Check the
story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve
been told to keep it a secret.
· Don’t wire money — or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier. Payment by gift card is always a scam.
· If you’ve lost money in this type of scam, report it to your local law enforcement. If not, Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.
· Do you
know an elder? Pass it on. Share what you know with your family and