Authorities are warning the community about a scam targeting elderly residents.
Investigators who look into reports of elder abuse have learned of at least two recent scams, according to a San Diego County Sheriffs Department news release.
First a man called the department claiming to be the relative of an elderly woman. He said he couldn’t reach his relative on the phone, and wanted deputies to check on her.
When they arrived at her house, she told them she didn’t know the caller –but admitted that in the past, she’d fallen for his phone scam and wired him money.
Deputies called the man back and learned he had used the Sheriff’s Department to try and re-establish contact with the victim so he could continue the financial abuse.
The second scam involved an elderly man who got a phone call informing him he’d won a large amount of money in a sweepstakes, but had to pay a fee to collect it.
The person who called identified himself as a deputy, and gave an actual deputy’s name. The man also said that the Sheriff’s Department would help with the money transfer.
The elderly victim withdrew the money as instructed, but before transferring it stopped by the sheriff’s station. The deputy whose identity was used just happened to be working that day and was able to tell the victim it was a scam.
Impersonating a law enforcement officer or deputy is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, a year in local custody or both. Obtaining money through a scam or other deception is a felony.
The Sheriff’s Department does not ever facilitate or participate in any sweepstakes, lotteries, or money transfers, officials said.
If you have questions or want more information, call the Sheriff's Elder Abuse Unit at 858-974-2322.