Coronado Seniors Once Again Targeted With Scams - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Coronado Seniors Once Again Targeted With Scams

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Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 12:59 pm

It was just a few months ago that some seniors in Coronado were victims of scammers. In one case scammers called seniors pretending to be a grandchild who had been arrested and needed money for bail. One couple gave the scammer their credit card number and suffered a loss of $12,000. Another senior caught on after she was asked to get $5,000 in $100 dollar bills. She called her granddaughter to verify the story and, in fact, she had not been arrested. The next phone call was to the Coronado Police Department instead.

This time the scam involves gift cards. Lea Corbin of the Coronado Police Department community relations said one senior received an email whose sender was a friend. The email address was the same as the friend’s except for one extra letter in the name. In the email there were personal comments that made so that the senior believe the message came from the friend in question. In one case the scammer asked for iTunes card to help pay for a niece’s hospital bill. The senior bought the card and sent the information on the card via email. The scammer thanked the senior but asked for more money by purchasing more cards. 

Another scam involved a text message sent to a senior from a phone number that the senior did not recognize. Based on what was written in the text, the victim recognized the message was coming from someone the senior knew from church. The scammer asked for a $500 Google Play gift card to pay for a hospital bill. The senior had to take a picture of the front and back of the card and send it to the scammer. When the senior was asked for another card and went back to Vons to purchase it, the cashier noticed this second purchase and told the victim it was a scam. 

Corbin said she has posted on the Coronado Police Department Facebook page a reminder that “gift cards are for gifts, not paying bills.” 

“We need our residents to spread the word to people more vulnerable, like the elderly… to reach out to those community members… church groups, clubs, elderly neighbors,” she said. \

Because most of the elderly population is not on social media they may not be aware of some of the nuances and be easily scammed. Remember if someone asks you to buy a gift card to pay a bill it’s a scam, including if someone claims to be a police officer.

The Federal Trade Commission has many tips on its websites for many types of scams. Here is what it says for this type of situation:

Scammers try to trick you into thinking a loved one is in trouble. They call, text, email, or send messages on social media about a supposed emergency with a family member or friend. They ask you to send money immediately. To make their story seem real, they may claim to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer; they may have or guess at facts about your loved one. These imposters may insist that you keep quiet about their demand for money to keep you from checking out their story and identifying them as imposters. But no matter how real or urgent this seems — it’s a scam.

If you get a call or message like this, what to do?

• Check it out before you act. Look up that friend or family’s phone number yourself. Call them or another family member to see what’s happening. Even if the person who contacted you told you not to.

• Don’t pay. Don’t wire money, send a check, overnight a money order, or pay with a gift card or cash reload a card. Anyone who demands payment in these ways is always, always, always a scammer. These payment methods are like giving cash — and nearly untraceable, unless you act almost immediately.

• If you sent money to a family emergency scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (wire transfer service, bank, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed, if possible.

• Report the message or call at

For more information on scams log on

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