From fake stones to fake lawyers: here are all the scams that target the elderly


By John

In recent weeks in the province of Reggio Calabria, many cases of scam with the fake nephew technique (next family member) or the fake lawyer: the recurring method consists of a telephone call (generally to the landline) to the elderly person during which the self-styled person tells that a relative of the same elderly person, a son or a grandchild, or the same person who suffered it, is were involved in an accident and would need to immediately pay a sort of bail in cash to avoid having problems with the law. The victim, agitated by the excited phone call and often disturbed in communication, believes the story and provides the cash to an emissary sent home by the fake lawyer, but in reality an accomplice of the same. Many times the victim who reports not having cash is asked to provide whatever he has in his possession. In this circumstance, the victim makes gold jewelery or jewelery in general in her possession available to the criminal.
The one just described is not the only stratagem used.
Other times the scammer presents himself as an LNPS, Enel or Inpdap official: shows up at the door of elderly people with the excuse of having to check their pension or contribution status; or even to check the gas meter, electricity etc. but in reality they trick people into giving them money or stealing goods or other things of value. Remember that before carrying out checks on homes, the authorities post notices in advance in the building with contact details that you can call.
And again:
The postal package delivery scam: the person calling reports that they have to deliver a package (imported for a relative. but that money must be paid in exchange. Remember that the fee for a package being delivered is always paid before shipping and above all that in no case can the fee be paid with precious goods and objects.
The fake gemstone scam: A gentleman with a reassuring appearance and generally middle-aged, pretends to be a foreigner and tells you that due to an emergency he has to reach his country of origin but he has no cash available for the journey. He generally stops a lady on the street and tries to sell her a ring or some precious stones which, according to him, would have a value of several thousand euros and, given the rush, he is willing to sell to the lady for much less. At that moment another well-dressed gentleman passes by who says he is a jeweler and shows a lot of magnifying glass to check the stones. He briefly checks and immediately offers to buy them for 5 thousand euros. At that point the stranger shows sympathy for the victim and insists that she buy them. And he often manages to convince her by getting “only” 2/3 thousand euros.

False charity: A well-dressed gentleman, around 50/60 years old, sometimes with a foreign accent, pretends to be a doctor or a representative of a pharmaceutical company looking for a deposit to make a donation of medicines for charitable purposes. He stops a gentleman on the street, normally in middle-class neighborhoods, asking for information about this deposit: the gentleman obviously knows nothing. Another lost accomplice passes by, pretending to know where the depot is but says it has been closed. At that point the only way to make the donation is only through a notary but he needs a cash advance obviously he says he doesn’t have with him. The elderly victim is convinced that she can contribute to charity if she provides the money needed for the notary and as thanks she will be paid a monetary compensation. The victim is accompanied to the bank to withdraw an amount which can even be a few thousand euros and then made to get into the car to go to the notary. During the journey the scammers “remember” that they will certainly need a tax stamp. They stop in front of a tobacconist and ask the lady to go and buy it. As soon as the cheated person gets out, they flee.

False inheritance: The same procedure is also used for a false inheritance to be delivered. A gentleman pretends to be someone looking for an old friend to whom he should deliver some money relating to an inheritance. He stops an elderly person to ask for information about that elusive friend but obviously no one knows him until a passer-by, an accomplice of the scammer, stops and says that that person is dead. The only solution is the notary but the advance payment is required. And the epilogue is always the escape after having made the victim leave with a pretext.