SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – It started when an elderly Southlake resident went to police headquarters upset that he had to pay thousands of dollars to prevent being arrested.
Officers were confused, but when the man said he had been contacted by the Houston Social Security Office they knew the gentleman was the victim of scammers.
The man, who they referred to as “Pop Pop” in several Twitter posts, detailed how the callers told him his social security number was being used for fraudulent activity involving drugs and that he could be arrested.
Initially, the man questioned the legitimacy of the call so the crooks said they would have Fort Worth police contact him to verify. He hung up and a few minutes later an 817 area code popped up on his phone and the scam continued.
The victim was then told he needed to go and immediately withdraw $23,000 cash from two separate banks. He was instructed to send the money overnight to an address in California.
Realizing this crime had occurred less than 24 hours before Southlake police jumped into action. A front desk officer contacted the FedEx Fraud Department and after some quibble as to if the officer was a real police officer, they were able to locate the cash-filled package and have it sent to police headquarters.
Southlake police no only had the package returned but sat with the elderly man as he counted the cash, to make sure it was all there, then went with him to the bank to redeposit the money.
On Twitter police warned that this type of scam isn’t new and usually doesn’t have a happy ending. They suggest that relatives look after their elders by checking their email and snail mail regularly and warning the senior citizens about possible door-to-door scammers too.
Police made it clear that police would never contact individuals by phone if they were about to be arrested. They said, “Trust us, if the police want to talk to you, we will come to you.”