Allentown
27° F
Clear
Clear

Phone scam targets the elderly

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 08 2014 09:30:24 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 09 2014 04:36:46 AM CST

Police say an elderly man from Sinking Spring gave away his life savings all because he fell victim to a scam.

SINKING SPRING, Pa. -

Police say an elderly man from Berks County gave away his life savings, all because he fell victim to a scam. Now they are warning others in this area to be on alert.

The phone call came in early December. An 86-year-old Sinking Spring man was told he won a $450,000 dollar lottery prize. But there was a catch.

"They needed him to send money in for various things like taxes. And he did, several times throughout the last month," said Sinking Spring Police Chief Lee Schweyer.

In fact, Sinking Spring Police say he sent in $45,000 to claim his prize.

Schweyer said he had never heard of anyone giving that much money before.

"I think that is the record that I heard," said Schweyer.

Police began investigating immediately. They traced the money to the west coast but have no solid leads yet. And they say unfortunately these types of scams happen quite frequently.

"This is just something that is an ongoing problem and if people can just get the message out: Do not send any money to these people that contact you," said Schweyer.

Now police are just hoping to return the man's life savings.

"I feel sorry for him. But we are going to do our very best to try and get his money back and arrest the perpetrators," said Schweyer.

Police say when a scam is successful in one area, the scammers will likely try to target other people in that area.

They warn that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so be extra careful whenever wiring someone money.