Bayside Police warn about scams after residents fall victim

NOW: Bayside Police warn about scams after residents fall victim

BAYSIDE, WI (CBS 58) -- Police in Bayside are sending a warning out about scams after a woman was scammed out of thousands of dollars.

She thought the money was going to her son.

The scam took place in November, but Bayside Police say they've seen other scams in recent months. 

"The grandparent scam is a very popular one," said Lt. Eric Miller. "Where somebody claims to be a law enforcement agency, grandson, son, granddaughter is in jail and asks a person in our village to send them money via prepaid gift card, green dot cards, or even Western Union. What happens from there is the money disappears." 

Within a short amount of time, at the end of 2018, Miller said there were two people in Bayside who lost thousands of dollars to scammers. 

"An older woman, she had met somebody online. He claimed that he was in a foreign country, actually in Syria. He actually wanted money to come visit her and she ended up sending him excess of 15 to 20 thousand dollars," said Miller. 

Police were able to intercept a package runner in that case.

"From there we sent an empty box that went to a vacant address in New York where another runner picked it up, until it eventually does go overseas," Miller said. 

And then there was the case where the woman was scammed out of $9,000. She did not want to go on camera, but told CBS 58 that someone called saying he was her son. His voice was hoarse so she told him to go to the doctor. The next time he called, he said when he left the doctor, he backed into a woman and child. He needed her to send him money to get out of jail and pay for a lawyer. 

Court documents show the package was sent to a Comfort Inn and Suites in Davenport, Florida and was signed for by a front desk clerk. The hotel has no record of the person the package was addressed to and the victim did not know anyone in that part of the country. 

The court document also stated that since the money was sent, the victim made contact with her actual son, who told her he had not requested any money. 

Police had requested FedEx account numbers and tracking numbers in connection with the scam. 

"You want to help your family and they prey on that. If it wasn’t profitable for these people, they wouldn’t be doing it anymore," said Miller. 

When it comes to those who are preyed upon, he said scammers often look for victims using social media. 

"A lot of this does originate from social media accounts. Your child or your grandchild puts on their social media that they’re away in Canada skiing and Colorado and it’s a public account that anybody can look at, these scammers are actively scanning social media sites and finding stuff like that," said Miller. 

Miller says this is also the time of year when they start seeing IRS scams. 

The IRS says it will not: 

  • Call a person to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call if a person owes taxes without first sending a bill in the mail 
  • Demand that a person pay taxes and not allow a person to question or appeal the amount of money that is owed
  • Require taxes be paid in a certain way, like paying with a prepaid debit card 
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone 
  • Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest a person for not paying 

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