Jul 9, 2014 11:37 AM by KATC

Vermilion sheriff warns of scam targeting elderly residents

The Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents to be aware of family emergency scams that have surfaced recently in Vermilion Parish.

Sheriff Mike Couvillon says in a press release that scammers have been posing as relatives or friends, calling or sending messages to urge you to wire money immediately.

They say they need cash to help with an emergency - like paying a house note, getting out of jail, paying a hospital bill, or a number of other reasons in an effort to get money before you realize it is a scam.

Couvillon says these individuals impersonate loved ones, play on their emotions, swear them to secrecy and insist that you send them money right away.

According to Couvillon, one elderly Vermilion Parish resident was contacted by a scammer posing as her grandson attempting to get $5,000.00. The scammer was banking on the grandmother's love and concern of her grandson to outweigh her skepticism before she realized it was a scam.

This particular scam originated from a 876 area code in Jamaica, and is just one of many Jamaican scams that has been ongoing in the United States for several years.

Couvillon offers the following tips for people who receive phone calls claiming to be a family member or friend in desperate need for money:
- Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
- Verify the person's identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn't possibly answer.
- Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
- Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends even if you've been told to keep it secret.
- Don't wire money, send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
- Report possible fraud to your local Law Enforcement agency or the Federal Trade Commission.


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