ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Olmsted County Sheriff wants people to be on alert for scammers, commonly targeting the elderly.
A Sheriff’s Office report released in December shows 7 southern Minnesotans were recent victims.
- A Byron man lost $350,000
- A Stewartville Woman lost $5,000
- A Byron man lost $80,000
- An Eyota man lost $7,200
- An Eyota man lost $4,000
- A Rochester woman lost $20,000
The scammers in these cases disguised themselves as lottery distributors, the IRS, utility or electronic services, and even people the victims had befriended on dating sites.
“I know banks were able to cancel some checks for a couple of cases but the majority of the money is gone. Once it gets sent and they receive it, it’s gone,” said Lt. Lee Rossman, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office.
Rochester resident David Meek was also a victim.
“I got a call from the 800 number on the back of my card for fraud protection,” he said.
Meek was targeted three days after Christmas.
“They called and they asked if I was in New York, or somewhere out east. And there was $40 and something odd change at Barnes and Nobles and a $400 or almost $500 at Walmart out there,” he said.
The scammers pretended to be from his bank and that they were working to protect him from fraudulent purchases. They proceeded to instruct Meek on how they could help solve the problem.
“The guy on the other end said, ‘Let me send you a text message with a code and you put that in your phone. And so I did. And then my girlfriend was on her phone and was looking at my bank, and all of a sudden they were taking money out my bank.”
He said they stole about $1,000.
Anyone can become a victim of scams like Meek.
A 2020 FBI report says adults over 60 years old are the most common victims of scams.
Rossman wants people to easily spot a potential scam.
“Basically, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true. Just be aware of when people are requesting money over the telephone or online that they are a scammer, if it’s not a legitimate business that you’re dealing with,” he said. “Don’t give out your private information, your social security number, your birthdate. Don’t give out access to your computer to people that are supposedly going to fix it.”
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