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Millbrook, Prattville police warn of financial scam targeting elderly

As of Friday, Prattville police are investigating three cases in relation to this scam.
As of Friday, Prattville police are investigating three cases in relation to this scam.(WSFA)
Published: Sep. 12, 2020 at 1:30 PM CDT
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By Ashley Bowerman | September 11, 2020 at 9:17 PM CDT - Updated September 11 at 10:29 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Police departments in both Millbrook and Prattville are warning the community about a recent financial phone scam that seems to be targeting the elderly, specifically grandparents.

Police say scammers are contacting elders and telling them that their grandchildren are in some sort of legal trouble and that they need a large sum of cash to help their family member with their perceived legal issues.

As of Friday, Prattville police are investigating three cases in relation to this scam. All have happened within the last week.

“They all are elderly victims, and the scam is involving grandchildren,” said Prattville Police Capt. Jeff Hassell. “They’re advising the victim that their grandchild is in some type of trouble and that the money is used to help them bond out.”

Hassell said what is most troubling with these recent type of cases is that the victim is usually targeted because of their age and the suspect(s) tend to play on the victim’s emotions as they relate to family members.

In addition, there is great concern that suspects are meeting the victim in person to take possession of the money.

“Anytime you meet somebody in person with large amounts of money, that could be very dangerous,” Hassell said.

The Prattville Police Department is not releasing the exact cash amount that has been taken from the three victims over the past week, but they said it is a “significant amount” and is a cause for concern.

Over the past two weeks, Millbrook police have received two separate reports in which senior citizens have been contacted and advised that a relative has been incarcerated and that they need a large sum of money to make their bond/bail.

Millbrook police said during one of these incidents, the victim actually spoke to an individual that she believed to be her granddaughter. In one instance the victim was advised to go to their bank and withdraw a large sum of cash and that a bail bondsman would meet them at their residence to take possession of the (bond) money.

Shortly after the offender took possession of the cash, the victim was contacted a second time and instructed to send a second payment via mail or wire service.

“We are advising our citizens to be cautious of anyone requesting them to make large withdrawals of cash to make a loved one’s bond,” said Millbrook Police Chief P.K. Johnson in a statement. “We don’t operate in this manner, nor do we make contact with relatives requesting that they make someone’s bond. All bond payments will be made at your municipal court department, police department or county jail, if appropriate.”

Both the Prattville and Millbrook police departments encourage the public to immediately contact police if they suspect they are being scammed and to never submit monetary payments to anyone until they have verified the legitimacy of the individual.

334-595-0208 - Prattville Police Department desk

334-361-9911 – Autauga 911 Police dispatch non-emergency

(334) 285-5603 – Millbrook Police Department desk

WSFA will be hosting an AARP anti-fraud virtual phone bank on Wednesday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. If you have a concern about a scam call you have recently received, AARP will be able to answer your questions.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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