Senior citizens and others are being warned to be on the lookout for scam artists.
According to recent reports, the would-be victims are primarly seniors who get an unsolicited telephone call, said Deputy Police Chief Robert Pawlisz of the
He warned resident that the phone scammer tries to convince victims that a family member is in trouble.
"The scam happens when a person receives a phone call from someone reporting to be a relative, usually a grandchild." That person claims to have gotten into legal trouble or a car accident. Sometimes the caller claims to have been robbed and asks the victim to wire him or her money.
Remember the Crime Tip Hotline Number: 815-462-6111 (24 hours)
The calls are often made late at night or very early in the morning when a person might be tired and not thinking as sharply, he said.
Elderly persons are often the target of these types of scams. "Take a senior person who lives alone in their home with a telephone. That's about all the information the out-of-country phone scammers need to know to conduct their ruse."
The calls are random. Scammers make hundreds of calls listening for an elderly voice to answer; when one does, the scammers turn the phone over to a confidence artist to seal the deal.
"Once the victim takes the first call and goes to retrieve the information for the scammer, this leads the scammer to keep calling the victim back."
In one case investigated by the New Lenox Police, the scammers pretended they were the senior's grandchild who said he had been involved in a car accident, was in jail and needed money wired.
The concerned grandparent wired $1,500.
Keep an eye out for elderly family members
Education and communication with family members is the best way to fight this kind of crime.
Anyone who has been a victim or has information about similar scams is asked to contact the New Lenox Police Department at 815-485-2500.