12 News Investigates: Scams that target the elderly

12 News Investigates

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Carolyn Blood, 75, answered a phone call from a man identifying himself as a federal officer. The caller struck fear into her.

“Gave his badge number and a name and told me there was a warrant for my arrest in Texas that had to do with a drug raid and that I was to be arrested and go to jail for trafficking drugs and money laundering,” she said.

However, Blood didn’t realize he was a fake officer when he transferred her to another person to handle the next part of the scam. To make sure she didn’t go to jail, she would have to reduce her bank account to $100 and send what’s left on gift cards, then she could change her social security number, and the money would be returned.

“I was going to the social security office and someone a designated gentleman with a badge number was going to meet me there and get my social security number and re-establish everything at the bank, and I would get my $1,000 dollars back when I get to the parking area. When I got there, the number had been disconnected. I said, ‘Oh my, my son is going to get me. I have been scammed.'”

While sitting with her, 12 News called the scammers, and the number was still disconnected. Blood took detailed notes of what happened to her and sent them to the Mississippi Attorney’s General Office.

She received the following response: “We regret that our investigation with regard to such was unsuccessful. As we mentioned in our previous correspondence to you, scams such as this are difficult to trace.”

Right now, the FBI Jackson is investigating a significant number of scams involving the elderly.

“If it doesn’t sound right, it’s probably not,” said Richard Boswell, FBI supervisory special agent with Jackson field office.

The FBI said Blood could give them a call about her situation.

“You can have that individual call the Jackson field office. Of course, we’d have to get more details,” said Boswell.

Blood said she won’t fall for it again.

“When you’re in a situation where someone calls and says, ‘Hey, I am a federal agent, and there’s a warrant for your arrest,’ you’re adrenaline starts pumping,” she said.

The FBI has units in their Criminal Investigation and Cyber Divisions that target elderly abuse when it comes to scams. The agency said to be wary if people ask for your personal or financial information over the phone.

To learn how you can report scams, click here.

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