Scammers try to get unsuspecting victims to pick up illegally purchased cellphones
(Credit: CNN Images).
WASHINGTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -
On Sunday, Washington police officers were called to an AT&T store in the 3800 block of Phoenix Center Drive. Employees got a call from a woman who said she was coming to pick up iPhones purchased by a friend, but they suspected it was part of a scam.
Det. Sgt. Steve Sitze told News 4, "The cellphones that she was picking up were purchased through an account that was flagged as fraudulent from their store."
Sitze said the 70-year old woman claimed a friend she'd met online asked her to pick up two phones he'd purchased and then ship them to him in New York. He said the phones were purchased using a stolen identity.
"Unfortunately older folks that get scammed by the outside to do their dirty work for them and ship them the product and kind of keep them at a distance," said Sitze.
The woman had driven from Vandalia and claimed she'd stopped at other cellphone stores on the way to Washington.
Sitze said his department's seen five or six cases this year of criminals in other states trying to use kind-hearted locals to retrieve cellphones that were purchased fraudulently.
He said the scammers target older adults with email, asking them to be pen pals. Then after cultivating a friendship, they might tell the person they're in the military and about to ship out to convince them to go pick up the phones.
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