Sheriff warns of new elderly scam

GENESEE COUNTY — Interim Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson is warning residents of a new scam which is geared toward bilking the elderly out of thousands of dollars.

Swanson discussed a fraud incident this week in Genesee County where an elderly couple was given a computer by their son. Within a few days they received an offer by email for an extended warranty on that computer for $100.

“They think it’s a good deal, they make the connection – they call someone from that email,” said Swanson. “They convince them to buy the unlimited warranty for $100 and (the couple) give their bank information for the $100. What they didn’t know is on the other end these scammers, once they got their routing number, went into not only their savings account, but a secured funds account and took $10,000 and transferred it. They didn’t take it yet, just transferred it.”

Swanson said the scammers called the individuals back and said they accidentally put $10,000 into their account, but unbeknownst to the couple they actually used their own money to give the appearance that $10,000 had been placed in their secure funds account.

The scammers then told the couple to send them $9,600 in cash and keep $400 for themselves.

“They convinced them to send $9,600 of their own money, but not to just send it, but send it through FedEx, but to make sure there was a lot of packing in the box and the cash was wrapped in tin foil so it wouldn’t look like currency when goes through scanner, Said Swanson.”

Swanson said the daughter-in-law got involved and saw it looked like a Ponzi scheme, only using their own money. The daughter-in-law contacted the sheriff’s department who went to FedEx and stopped the box about 20 minutes before it was going to be placed on a truck to be delivered.

“When anybody tells you to wrap cash in tin foil, it ain’t legal, I promise you that,” he said. “We’ve never seen anything like it, but that’s how bold they are.”

He said if anyone receives an offer that sounds too good to be true, they should contact law enforcement to get an opinion before they send any kind of money.