Don't Fall For It: Fear a common tactic with scams targeting seniors

Published: Dec. 6, 2019 at 9:26 PM CST
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Scams criminals use to steal money are ever evolving and fear is a common tactic they use. With this tactic, seniors are often targeted.

One crime targeting older adults is a "grandkid scam" in which scammers pretend to be a friend or relative (usually a grandchild), or a representative of a relative and try to trick their targets into sending money to help with an emergency situation. This scam isn't new, but it can be difficult when those targeted aren't able to immediately recognize what's going on.

A new scam popping op on the Wichita Police Department's radar takes the audacity of the grandkid scam and multiplies it. This scam involves a car covered in blood and some form of your ID.

The scammer calls and tells their target that their social security number is compromised and it somehow involves a car that was found with blood in it. From that comes a threat that the person targeted in the scam is about to be indicted or charged with a crime.

Wichita police say the scam can be confusion and is tricky to explain.

Veteran WPD detective Bradley Tuzicka says scammers are "really practiced liars and master manipulators."

The scam involving compromised social security numbers may sound dramatic, but the advice police give to combat it is the same as just about any phone scam. Get the caller's information and look up their number on your own to verify who you're really talking to.

"You just have to be strong enough to do it and strong enough to say, 'I'm not going to talk to you anymore until I check this out," Tuzicka says.

Because scammers often target older adults, Wichita police say it's vital their loved ones stress to them the importance of simply hanging up the pone when something doesn't seem right.

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