PUTNAMVILLE -- The Criminal Investigation Division at the Putnamville District of the Indiana State Police is currently investigating a cash-based scam that involves sending money via a commercial wire service.
The scam appears to be targeting only elderly residents -- one couple lost more than $3,000.
The scam appears to work in this manner: Unknown persons will telephone an elderly resident and tell them that a family member has been arrested and needs bond money to be released from jail. The suspects will identify an actual family member that is known to the victim, usually a son or daughter or grandchild, and then identify themselves as a ranking representative of a certain police agency.
Then the victims are told a lengthy fictional set of unusual circumstances surrounding the arrest, often portraying the arrested family member as an unfortunate participant that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The trap is now set, and unsuspecting elderly family members begin the process of feeling sorry for their relative and engage in the conversation of how to wire the money to the police representative.
When the victim conducts the initial wire transaction, a routing number is provided only to the victim. After the money is "wired," the victim is told to call the "police agency" back at a provided number. An unknown person will answer with the name of the police agency, and when the victim requests to talk with the ranking officer they believe they had talked with previously, the person will "page" the requested officer.
When that person answers, a conversation occurs where the victim is told to change the routing of the cash to a different city in the United States. The routing number is then requested by the suspect and usually provided by the unsuspecting victim.
Once the routing number is given, the cash can be obtained from any location in the world.
Residents are reminded to use extra caution when dealing with unknown individuals by telephone or internet. Provide personal information to only trusted sites and known individuals, and discuss any potential monetary requests with trusted family members.