Fraud calls target elderly in Mexico

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MEXICO — Over the past two weeks, fraudulent phone calls have been targeting Mexico seniors. In one case, it cost someone $2,000, with no chance of recovery.

According to Police Chief Roy Hodsdon, the caller says that a loved one fled the scene of a car crash, was in jail for the crime and required bail money. The caller asks that the person buy two $1,000 gift cards from Walmart and to not tell anyone about it.

He said two seniors were called Tuesday, felt something was not right, and stopped into the police station to talk to the chief. Hodsdon said he was shown the phone number and determined it to be a scam.

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While being interviewed for this story, Hodsdon received a call from one of the seniors, who verified that his son was not in jail. He thanked the efforts of the police in this matter.

One senior in town was not so lucky two weeks ago, Hodsdon said. The person went to the local Walmart, bought the two gift cards and read off the numbers on the cards as instructed.

“The cards had been drained,” the chief said. “That money cannot be recovered because it can’t be traced. It’s sad. Really sad.”

Hodsdon noted that bail commissioners cannot accept gift cards, credit cards or checks. They can only accept cash.

And, if someone on the phone sounds like it could be a loved one asking for bail money, he said, the person should “ask a question only a loved one would know.”

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