Scammers targeting elderly in & around Montgomery - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Scammers targeting elderly in & around Montgomery

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Smooth-talking scammers are going after the elderly in the Montgomery area. 

WSFA 12 News reported earlier this week about a man and woman caught on camera at the Prattville Walmart working together to steal wallets- the female half of the duo distracts the victim, in this case, an elderly woman, with conversation while her male partner waits for the right moment to snatch the wallet while the victim's back is turned.

Crimestoppers says our story helped generate a lot of tips in the search for the suspects.

Another scheme that's popped up is what's called the "pigeon drop."

It's a scam where con artists will approach a victim, often outside of a store or bank, and say they just found a large sum of money. They spin elaborate stories and manage to convince the victim that they can keep the money for themselves, their church or their favorite charity.

But things go bad when they tell the victim to give up some of their own money in order to secure or get access to the bigger loot. Ultimately, the bad guys get away with everything. 

It recently worked on an elderly woman at the Publix on Atlanta Highway. She was approached by two women and a man caught on surveillance who swindled her out of $3500. 

"For a person who might want to do something good for their church, they'll believe them because the story may make somewhat sense to them. They're trusting. They want to help someone out and do the right thing. So sometimes with the right story and the right criminal telling the right person, that person might be more trusting and get scammed in the end,"said Tony Garrett with Central Alabama Crimestoppers.

"These scams happen all of the time. These people are making a lot of money off of innocent people. They always want to keep you there until you write them a check or go to the bank or go to the house to give them money. They always want something in return,' he added.

In the pigeon drop scam, he has seen victims get home with a bag of newspaper clippings instead of cash.

Garrett says in a lot of cases, elderly victims don't come forward after being scammed because they're embarrassed or they fear possible repercussions from their family, like losing their independence or being put in a nursing home.

He encourages anyone approached by these scammers to call police and provide a description of the suspect(s) and their vehicle or tag number.

It's crimes like this that The Montgomery Area Council on Aging tries to educate seniors on in an effort to keep them from becoming victims.

"Many times, it's just going with another person when you go somewhere or when you're getting ready to leave a shop or store, park as close as you can but also when you leave, look around when you exit. Seniors are the people who have built our great nation. They deserve our respect and our protection,' said MACOA Executive Director Donna Marietta.

The agency is looking into putting out flyers to hundreds of local seniors through their different meal programs to warn them about the recent scams. 

Information will also be posted at their six senior centers. 

They hope to have Montgomery police visit with seniors to discuss precautions and steps to protect themselves from being targeted. 

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.
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