Scammers target elderly across Alabama - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Scammers target elderly across Alabama

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Two weeks ago, Talladega residents, Shirley and William Harmon got a call from an unknown number. The caller ID said it was from Jamaica.

The caller on the other end said Harmon just won $250,000 and a new car! But, he would have to pay for it first.  Harmon didn't buy it.

While the Harmons weren't suckered in by this phone scammer, nearly five million seniors in the United States are victims of scams.  Many more go unreported. 

Talladega investigators say the more common cases they see are "lottery" and money wiring scams. Most of which are directed at the elderly.

About fifty miles north in Gadsden, Chief John Crane with the Gadsden Police Department says, his department is seeing more cases of storm debris cleanup and home repair scams.

"I'll do it for X number of dollars, which usually is a good price, however I need so much up front so I can go get gas for my chainsaw or something like that, they take the money and you never see them again," Crane explains.

Crane says the elderly are targets because they are trusting, and in many cases lonely

"I think they look at it more as a connection, here's somebody that will talk with me, they think they care about them, it fills a void and that's how they get led into this," Crane says.

To learn more how to protect yourself from scams focused on the elderly, click here.