GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's bad enough scammers contact people by phone, now
they're following up the phone call with a visit to your front door.
Folks are getting calls saying a loved one is "in trouble, send money now." The loved one could be in jail, in the hospital, and for some reason needs money right now. To make the story more believable, the scammers have looked at your family's social media.
"They are actually going into social media accounts and collecting some unique information just to get off of social media about them. I know some more than others,” said Ryan DeVault, Public Resource Officer, Iowa State Patrol.
Trooper DeVault says scammers team up with additional "people" who pretend to be a doctor, lawyer, or law enforcement to further convince you of the legitimacy of the scam.
When you're convinced, they ask for the payment. It used to be they would ask you to go to a store and buy a gift card and read off the number to them. Now, they're asking how much money you have in the house.
"The newer wrinkle with this new one is they're actually sending.
Once they get that elderly person to commit to, the money,
they will actually send somebody to their door like a courier,” said DeVault.
How could they be so brazen to walk up to your door? COVID means everyone wears a mask and people are harder to identify.
Here's how to protect yourself:
Verify the person's identity by asking questions only your family member will know.
Don't act quickly or secretly. They prey on your emotions by using fear, excitement, and sympathy.
Call your loved one's cell phone and check on them or someone who may know where they actually are.