Police warn of scam on seniors

TORRINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Torrington Police Department is sounding the alarm about a phone scam that tries to target seniors and steal their money.

The department posted the info on its Facebook page. Joel Sekorski read it to seniors at the Sullivan Senior Center. He’s the Director of Services for the elderly.

“The Torrington Police would like to warn residents that phone scams seem to be making their way back into the area as of late,” Sekorski read.

Torrington detective Kevin Tieman explained how the scam works. He says someone calls a senior claiming to be that person’s grandchild and needs help with bail money to get out of jail.

“What they’ll do is prey on your emotions and try and get you to act in that exact moment,” said Detective Kevin Tieman.

He also says the scammers try to get information from seniors that can help them pull off the crime.

“They’ll try to elicit a response from the person to say hey grandma this is your grandson,” the detective said. “And you’ll say ‘Bobby?’ And they’ll say ‘oh okay.’ Now they know the grandson’s name is Bobby, so, they are very crafty in what they do.”

Seniors at the Sullivan Senior Center say they know people who’ve been targeted.

“The woman got a call saying her grandson was in trouble and he needed bail bond money,” one senior said. “She was going to the bank to get the $5,000 out.”

Related Content: State officials warn of IRS scam

Detective Tieman says there could be more cases out there, because many seniors often do not come forward and report that they’ve been victims of scam because of embarrassment or fear. He also says investigating these cases is tough and there are few arrests because many involve wire transfers.

“Most of the time they’ll go to a location that we’re not able to get to them overseas and it’ll happen so quickly that we’re unable to track it,” he said.

For now, the Torrington Police Department is working with the Sullivan Senior Center and other organizations for seniors to be proactive and get the word out and make the public more aware of this type of scam.

“The resident should be skeptical about any phone call requesting personal information over the phone or any immediate payment for some type of issue that they might be having with those types of relatives,” he said.

He also adds the best way for a senior to protect him or herself  is — if they don’t recognize the phone call that’s coming in, do not answer the phone.

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