In this day and age, nearly everyone has a cellphone, social media and email.
And so many of us are quick to trust whatever we see on those platforms.
Because of that, scammers are targeting those among us who are too trusting.
“It’s a scam where somebody, usually in another country, has gained some access to some of your family information. And what they’ll do is send you an email or call you and say one of your family members has been in an accident,” Detective Justin Gates, with Abilene PD’s fraud unit, said.
Sounds legit, right? So much so that Carol Haynes made sure to tell her mother to watch out for these scammers.
“We told her that if she hears that somebody is in prison, in the hospital, in jail, she needs to call us,” Haynes said.
Haynes isn’t the only one who has heard of this. Marshall Morris, VP at First Financial Bank, said these fraud cases are hitting Abilene hard.
“They’re getting more and more common. We see them every day. These folks are getting taken advantage of, they’re too trusting,” Morris said.
While these scammers can target anyone, they will typically stick with the most vulnerable victims.
“They’ll usually contact people of grandparents' age and sometimes, they’ll know one of your grandchilds’ names, so that makes you think it’s legit.”
Whether it’s a text message, email or phone call, never give out your personal information to anyone. And if you’re unsure of the credibility of the request, just give your loved one a call and verify.
“Double-check. Get someone to help you double-check. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. And if it sounds out of character for that person, check up on it for sure.”
Abilene PD said that most of the cases are from scammers overseas, so they are harder to trace.