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Preying on the elderly

Published April 27. 2013 09:03AM

Dear Editor:

The following information should be read by all and passed on to you aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, grandparents or any one else who falls into the over 65 age bracket. I know that there have been numerous letters and articles written on this topic, but I feel it is time again for yet another advisory be issued. During the course of our work day we receive calls from people who have been scammed out of their savings by the scum of the earth.

These people seem to prey on the eldery and get their personal enjoyment out of stealing their money. Allow me to give you the latest situation that has been reported to our department.

A retail establishment has contacted our department and advised us that there has been a spike in elderly people coming in to their store and purchasing pre-paid gift cards. This caller knew there would be little that we could do to locate the culprits, but this person was hoping that I could at least get another warning out again. Here is how it usally works:

The elderly person receives a phone call that they have won the lottery fromanother country, or they have been chosen to receive free airline tickets anywhere. Your first question should always be HOW COULD I WIN A LOTTERY THAT I NEVER ENTERED? These people (if I can even call them people) ask for handling fee, processing fees or some other made up reason to get money.

They request the money on a pre-paid gift card. Always keep in mind, if you are truly a prize winner, you should never have to pay out any type of fees to claim your prize.

The elderly go to businesses to buy these pre-paid cards, and some have been in the amounts of $500 to $800 and even in some cases as high as $1,000. The purchasing person then calls these people back and will supply the number on the card, the number is then taken and used for some purchase on the elderly person's money. In some cases the money spent is a life savings for them.

In closing I can only ask that with a little help from everyone with speaking to our elderly friends and relatives we can slow down or at best stop these thefts from the people that we have been taught to respect.

Chief Neal Ebbert

Lehighton Borough Police Department

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