Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is urging residents to educate themselves and their loved ones on the latest scams, especially those targeting the elderly. Senior citizens, especially in our local communities, were generally brought up to be polite and trusting, said Sheriff Webre. Con artists are exploiting these traits by lying to and preying on the trusting nature of our elderly citizens. We hope to raise their awareness that these criminals are out there and inform them how they can protect themselves against these fraudulent schemes.
Here are a few examples of similar schemes which recently affected Lafourche citizens:
A man was informed he had won a large sum of money and an automobile through a contest. He was asked to send several hundred dollars for processing fees before he could receive his prize. On the day he was supposed to receive the prize, he was asked to send more money. He lost his initial investment and received an expensive phone bill since the caller had an 876 area code in Jamaica.
A woman had been receiving several calls from a law firm attempting to collect an application fee for a recent loan she had applied for online. It was later determined there was no application fee for the loan, and the residents information had likely been hacked as a result of her filling out the application online.
A woman received mail correspondence which appeared to be from a legitimate national bank. Upon opening the envelope, she discovered a letter from another company stating she had won a large sum of money after being randomly selected after she had shopped at a local store. The letter instructed her to send thousands of dollars for processing of this cash prize.
Con artists typically contact people using high-pressure tactics to solicit money for fraudulent investments, insurance policies, travel packages and charities. Never give them personal information such as a Social Security number, date of birth, address, or maiden name. Sheriff Webre has always cautioned residents to be wary of callers or letters with free offers or prizes, saying If its too good to be true, it probably is. Never pay for free prizes. If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law. When there is any doubt, it is always best to consult with a family member or another trusted party.
Sheriff Webre is asking citizens to educate their elderly relatives and make sure they understand the dangers of these scams and how to handle these types of phone calls and other correspondence. It is also important to remember that while senior citizens are often targeted in these schemes, a citizen of any age could be a potential victim.