DA’s office issues phone fraud warning | TahoeDailyTribune.com

DA’s office issues phone fraud warning

by Gregory Crofton, Tribune staff writer

Fraud is reaching its cold hand down from Canada and picking the pockets of El Dorado County senior citizens.

A unidentified caller told an 81-year-old woman that she had won $100,000 in the Canadian Lottery, but to get the money she needed to send $2,500 to a Canadian address to cover tax and processing fees. She did that twice in November 1999, sending $5,000 to addresses in Canada, but never received any lottery cash.

In July, the woman got another phone call asking her to send $3,500 to addresses in Vancouver, British Columbia. While waiting for a taxi to take her to a Western Union Office to get the money, the woman called the El Dorado District Attorney’s Office in Placerville and was told not to send the money because she was probably dealing with a fraud.

But the crooks called back and asked if she had sent the money. According to El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Paul Sutherland, she told the caller that the district attorney’s office warned her it was a fraud. Minutes later, the 81-year-old received another call from a man who said he represented the district attorney’s office. He reportedly told her that the group requesting money was not a fraud and to go ahead and send the money. Sutherland said a taxi company, which had been called back a second time to take her to a Western Union, notified the district attorney’s office and they were able to stop the woman from sending the money a second time.

In June, an 81-year-old man also received a call telling him he was entitled to $129,000 as part of a class-action lawsuit in Canada. To receive the money, he was told he had to send a $5,100 cashier’s check made payable to Janet Reno, to John Ward of Ward, Kline and Associates of Quebec.

Neighbors of the Placerville man got involved when he told them about the large check he was about to send to Canada. They told him it was a fraud. The crooks called back and asked the man for the check number, but he had not drawn the check and didn’t give them the number.

“These people are using cloned cell phones, stolen cell phone numbers, ” Sutherland said. “It’s basically impossible to trace them. It’s a tremendous problem. Our goal at this point is to warn the public.”

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