An investigative report led by The Seekonk Reporter Uncovered The Latest Scam on the Elderly. Scammers are convincing senior citizens to pay a reward the scammer created on fake missing animal posters. Unlike most scams, these scammers aren’t just taking the money, they are giving the victims the animals listed on the reward poster.
“In the last month, we’ve had 15 of these scams reported in Jasper,” said Jasper, AR Police Chief Robert D. Cope. “I’m sure that number is higher but a lot of people don’t want to come forward in these scenarios. ” The total amount of money scammed from the residents of Seekonk was over $65,000 Cope said.
Jerry D’arezzo of Jasper said that one evening he was stopped by to check in on his mother after work. D’Arezzo said “I walked into the living room and I just see this fucking horse sitting right on the side of my mother watching TV. A fucking horse. I asked her what happened and she said a gentleman had responded to her missing horse poster that she had posted all over town. My mother is 89, hasn’t walked in 2 years, and has never owned a horse in her entire life. I just don’t understand why these scammers are dropping off the reward, can’t they just take the money and run?”
The call starts off innocent enough. The caller will introduce themselves, tell the victim that they found their missing pet, and ask to meet so they can return the missing pet. When the victim insists they don’t have an missing pet, the caller starts reciting the victim’s personal details they found on the internet and insist they are getting the information from the reward poster. Victims have stated the criminals threaten to call the police for animal cruelty if they do not comply.
Scam victim 76 year old Evan Jordan, said he was at home eating dinner when he got the call. “The man called himself Jimmy and he said he had my raccoon. He wanted to know when he could come to get his prize money. I had no idea what he was talking about but he seemed like a nice kid. He showed up about 4pm, just a little after I finished dinner. The man was carrying a cage that looked like something large was stuffed inside. I could see fur popping out of every available hole. I went outside to greet him, gave him the $100 he said I owed him, then he walked around me, went inside my house, and let the raccoon out of the cage. The man abruptly picked up the cage, raced to his car, and drove away.”
Local police are calling on families to educate older loved ones about the dangers of these scams. The best way to avoid this scam is to avoid talking to anyone who claims they found your pet. If you have lost a pet, call the local police department and ask them for help .