Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Elyria 69°

Cops and Courts

Suspect in phone scam calls police for welfare check on victim


LORAIN — A common telephone scam took an unusual turn over the weekend.

On Saturday, police received a call from someone who asked them to do a welfare check on his uncle, according to a police report. When a dispatcher asked the caller questions, the caller tried to alter his voice and pretended to be “the sister of the uncle.”

The caller told police he had been receiving calls from someone named “James Washington” who told him that he had won a giveaway prize, and that he needed to send money to absorb income tax costs, a press release said.

Believing “James Washington,” the man mailed two money orders totaling $1,250 through the Amherst Post Office. He then told police he got another call from someone who said he would be sent to jail if he didn’t send more money.

The man stopped answering the calls, prompting “James Washington” to call police for a welfare check on the man.

As police were questioning the man, the suspect called again and tried to convince the man that his giveaway prize was coming. Police convinced the man that the calls were part of a scam, and after talking with the Amherst Post Office, officers were able to keep the money orders from being sent, according to the press release.

Lorain Police Capt. Roger Watkins said phone scams to steal money from elderly people are not unusual.

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