News 4 Exclusive: Elderly Woman Threatened by Scam Artist

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

During the holiday season, con artists are trying to make a quick buck, especially with the giving spirit in the air, and the likeliest of targets are the elderly.

In a News 4 exclusive interview, one woman said when she says, ‘no’, she means no!

"He just asked me to get out my check book and I asked, 'why?' He says, 'Well, I need to know the black letters across the bottom of your check," explained ‘Earline’. We hid the woman's identity and changed her name to ‘Earline’, but the soft-spoken 80 something year old describes what happened during a phone scam.

Earline says she wasn't born yesterday and she's nobody's fool.

Her suspicious radar went up Wednesday afternoon at her residence in the Hutto Towers and Baptist Village for Retirees.

An anonymous caller told her he needed her checking account number and insisted she give it to him. After continuously haggling Miss ‘Earline’, he finally got angry and threatened to come to her residence and hurt her.

Still, she persisted. "I said no, I don't think so" she says.

Miss ‘Earline’ immediately told retirement home authorities.

Still, the high rate of scams continues to target elderly citizens because they have an increased level of trust.

Dothan Police investigators say the rate of scams keeps getting worse.

One, because they go unreported and two, the scam artists aren't even based in the United States.

Meanwhile, ‘Earline’ says she was able to avoid being scammed because of a higher power. "The Lord was just with me, I believe because He knew what was going to happen," she continued.

The Baptist Village director says neither Miss ‘Earline’ nor any other resident should worry. "We lock our building down and we have a monitor at our desk. So that doesn't mean that something can't happen, but the chances of it happening are very slim," Director Don Falgout said.

The reason most folks get scammed is because they give out personal information over the phone and on unsecured websites.

Authorities say the best thing to do is not to.

Also, family members, if someone new comes into your elderly loved ones life, watch out for them.


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