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88-Year-Old Palm Coast Woman Scammed by Dominican Republic Phone Fraud

| March 23, 2011

dominican republic phone scam

A phone booth in the Dominican Republic. (© Victoria Potter)

Much like the perennial Nigerian banker or orphan or lawyer who claims by email that he can make you a millionaire if only you wired such and such a sum, an 88-year-old Palm Coast woman fell victim to a telephone scam Tuesday that wound up costing her $2,500, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

The method is more braze, as ity suggests targeting an individual known to be elderly, and targeting that individual more directly, by phone.

The woman told deputies she received a call from a man who claimed to be a lawyer in the Dominican Republic. He told her that her grandson was in jail and injured. In order to get him released, the would-be lawyer told the woman to wire $2,500 to him to “assist in the costs for transportation.”

The elderly woman said she went to a local supermarket where she had the money wired to an address in the Dominican Republic. The scammer called back to confirm he received the money, but that he would need more funds to complete the process. The victim went back to the supermarket, but the wire transfer was declined as exceeding the allowed limit.

The victim went home and finally called her daughter. Her daughter told her that her grandson was not in jail and he was still in the military.

This is not a new scam. Flagler County residents continue to call reporting similar telephone calls throughout the year claiming that a relative is in trouble and needs money.

“Everyone, not just our senior citizens, needs to be very suspicious of any unusual telephone calls and solicitations. Above all, never give out personal and financial information,” Sheriff Don Fleming.

10 Responses for “88-Year-Old Palm Coast Woman Scammed by Dominican Republic Phone Fraud”

  1. Jordan says:

    Much like credit card companies have to police card usage and not hold customers liable for stolen card debt money wire companies should be forced to update policies which will then offer more protection or return funds that do not reach the intended recipient.

  2. Barbara Thomas says:

    Is there any way to track these scammers down? What recourse can I take? Will the telephone company give me a copy of my incoming calls?

  3. Lee Groshens says:

    My mom just scammed out of alot of money… What the f@@@ can be done with these people?? I vacation down there and if i find them, well no more said!!

    • S says:

      I would suggest NOT vacationing in The Dominican Republic as a boycott to punish them for these scams! You can’t take the law into your own hands but instead contact the proper authorities. The odds that you would actually find those responsible are extremely low! You should keep your vacation dollars in the U.S. and avoid such places as a matter of principle.

  4. P L Carreon says:

    OMG! I was searching the internet to see what recourse my father had and I found this article from you. This is exactly what happened to my father just yesterday – and he lives in California! My son in the military too, was used in this scam. It scared the dickens out of me and so worried about my father. Has anyone found an avenue of recourse for these victims? Any information would be helpful. My father’s local police department were very rude and did not want to take a police report on this matter. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  5. cao6y says:

    This just happened to my grandma, in Virginia. I’m infuriated. There has to be some sort of action that can be taken. Apparently its not a big enough amount of money for the FBI to investigate, especially being out of the country. Perhaps these claims need to be filed together, to make it a big enough case for someone to pay attention.

    • Anonymous says:

      This just happened to me today–sounded just like my grandson and said he was in an accident and needed to pay for the damage to the other vehicle and then another call said he needed to pay for his hospital bill before he could leave the country. What can we do?

  6. aktracer says:

    This just happened to my 86 yr old mother..they convinced her it was her grandson too and not to tell anyone…they took her for $2,652 + $220 to send Western Union..i hope they catch these scumbags!!

    • martha reno says:

      They gave me same story. Grandson needed $3000.00 to pay for damages. I was wise to the scam and played them for nearly 5 hours while they looked for money I “sent”. What really upsets me is I notified local police then the FBI to be told they could do nothing as they’re was no crime committed. I called newspaper to inform them to publish a warning as I live in Florida a highly populated area for seniors. I had a name to whom the money was going to. Also I was not to use western union but go to Walmart and give the caller the number on the transaction receipt. Why couldn’t the fbI have set them up and save some poor upset grandmother her savings. There must be someway to stop these heartless greedy crooks.

  7. S says:

    I don’t have any grandparents alive anymore to be victimized by such a scam. However, if my Grandma WAS still alive she probably wouldn’t fall for this scam because the minute someone said that her grandkid was in jail she’d probably assume that one of us had done something to land in jail and therefore wouldn’t be duped into sending money to bail us out ! I don’t mean to make her sound heartless but I just don’t think that telling her that one of us was in jail would’ve garnered much sympathy from her…she was a tough-love kind of person.

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