Scam artists had the perfect mark.
A 93-year-old Richland County man they had gotten know know over the last couple of years may have given them tens of thousands of dollars already, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a news release.
How could this happen? Lott said since 2014, the scammers had gained the victim’s trust “ by using personal information the victim had given them during earlier conversations, such as the name of his dog, where he likes to eat, and where he lived.”
But the last $9,000 rip-off they tried almost got them caught.
An alert family member called authorities to report $9,000 has been withdrawn from the victim’s bank account. He was expecting to turn his $9,000 into $2.5 million. He just needed to meet a representative of “Golden Harvest Sweepstakes” in the parking lot of a Garners Ferry Road Wells Fargo Bank to turn over his cash. When the meeting fell through, he was told him to Fed Ex the money to Florida, which he did.
Richland County deputy Connie Smith of Project HOPE (Help Our Precious Elderly) contacted Fed Ed, the package was tracked and the $9k returned to the victim. But the scammers remain on the loose.
Authorities are trying to identify “these deceitful thieves,” Lott said. If you have information about these scam artists you are asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, text CRIMES (274637) and mark the beginning of the message with “TIPSC” followed by the tip information, or log onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and click on the red “Submit a tip” tab.