LACEY – Police have been urging residents to be on guard against scams that continue to target residents, particularly seniors.
There are several different scams that residents have been reporting, Lt. Paul Sullivan said. All of them at some point require people to send money.
One common scam begins with a phone call in the middle of the night. The caller will claim to be a member of the police in a foreign country. They will name a relative and say that they have that relative in custody for some kind of charge like drunk driving. They will give orders on how to send money to bail them out.
Another fairly common one is often referred to as the “Nigerian prince” scheme, where foreign royalty reaches out via e-mail and says that there is money available to you if you first deposit a certain amount of dollars.
As a result of scams like this, people go and wire money. They also put money on cards. They give the caller the number on the cards, which provides access to the money on that card, he said.
“(The scammers) are more successful than you would hope,” Sullivan said. Three or four times a year, Lacey police investigate a scam where people have lost thousands of dollars.
There are some tips on how to avoid being scammed:
If someone is claiming that a member of your family is in some kind of trouble, don’t take their word for it. Call the family member, no matter what time of night it is.
If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is not true.
Be skeptical of any contact with someone who asks for money.
“You’ve worked your entire life to build this nest egg. We don’t want anyone to have access to it but you,” Sullivan said.