TOMS RIVER – After a local veteran was scammed out of his life savings, his son started up a fundraising website to help regain what was lost.
The GoFundMe page, “Senior with Stage 4 Cancer Scammed out of Savings,” was created by John James on July 30 in order to help his father recoup $18,000 that was taken from him through an ongoing telephone scam.
While the name of the victim has not been released, we know he is a 77-year old military veteran in Ocean County who suffers from stage 4 cancer. He was reportedly working to become a bus driver.
According to the GoFundMe, James’ father received a call last week from someone claiming to be a Social Security agent. This person claimed that his SSN was compromised and that he would need to contact the sheriff’s department to remedy the situation.
While on the phone with someone claiming to be a sheriff, the man was told there was a warrant out for his arrest and that “he needed to do exactly as the agent told him to do.”
“Terrified that he was going to be sent to jail and his life’s savings was in jeopardy, he drove to the bank to withdraw his savings. In a panic, he drove all over town with his chemo bag to purchased gift cards at Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy. The “agents” told him his money would be protected by giving them the gift card numbers,” read a statement from James on the GoFundMe.
All in all, the scammers made out with $18,000 of his money.
“After speaking to the real Sheriff and FBI, there is little to no chance of getting justice or retribution. My father worked his whole life and his savings was stolen from him in one day,” stated James. “My father feels violated, victimized and most of all embarrassed. We are doing our best to keep him in good spirits as he continues to fight his cancer.”
James created the fundraiser to not only help replace the thousands of dollars lost to the scammers, but also to spread awareness about the prevalence of these kinds of phone scams.
These scam callers will “spoof” a number, which means that it looks as if the actual sheriff’s department is calling based on the number, but in reality, it is someone else entirely.
“Please warn everyone you know about these devious plots to scam our loved ones and communities out of their hard-earned life savings,” James said.
As of August 2, the GoFundMe has only recouped $2,590 of the $18,000 goal.