Con­man prey­ing on se­niors

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS - by Car­los Atwell car­[email protected]­tion­news.com

The el­derly are be­ing warned to be on their guard against a well dressed swindler prowl­ing a St Michael dis­trict.

Flagstaff, St Michael res­i­dents are on alert for a mid­dle-aged man tar­get­ing mostly el­derly peo­ple and trick­ing them into giv­ing him money.

The man con­vinces them he is ei­ther a rel­a­tive or a friend of a rel­a­tive and needs a loan for var­i­ous rea­sons be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing with the cash.

It ap­pears he asked around the neigh­bour­hood for in­for­ma­tion on his next vic­tim be­fore strik­ing.

The po­lice have been no­ti­fied about the scam, and Min­is­ter of Elder

Af­fairs Cyn­thia Forde has con­demned it.

One woman said she was swin­dled twice.

“I can’t be­lieve I let that hap­pen to me twice. This is what hap­pens when you be­lieve peo­ple,” said the woman, who went by the name “Mrs Forde”.

Story

She said that in 2015 she first came across the man, who said he was a rel­a­tive of a friend she had known many years ago.

“I fig­ured he must have grown up, which is why I didn’t recog­nise him now. He gave me a story, then asked for a phone mes­sage.

“He pre­tended to call my niece and talk to her then told me she said to give him $200 for a pack­age he had in his car – which he said he had parked up the road – and she would pay me back later,” “Mrs Forde” said.

The man swiftly dis­ap­peared with the money, and she later found out that her niece had never heard of him.

“Mrs Forde’ said that a year later the man came back and some­how she didn’t recog­nise him.

He again took her money, caus­ing her to re­call the pre­vi­ous en­counter. This time around, he asked lead­ing ques­tions, then agreed when she an­swered.

“I thought he was my sis­ter’s new boyfriend I had heard about. I had $100 to pay my MCTV but I gave him fig­ur­ing my sis­ter would pay me back, but af­ter­wards I call my sis­ter and she didn’t know who he was,” she said.

Change

A neigh­bour said “Mrs Forde” may have her dates mixed up, as she was sure the man had vis­ited her this year.

Res­i­dents re­ported that an­other woman was asked to make change for $100 for the man, who then snatched the money and ran.

There were sto­ries of the man mak­ing off with money from an usher at a nearby church and from an el­derly man in a me­chanic’s garage.

The owner of the garage, who de­clined iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, said a friend told him the story of how he was tricked.

‘Wu­f­less peo­ple’

“I was in­side when the fella came and started talk­ing to my friend. I un­der­stand the fella say [my friend’s] son told him to give him $200. I don’t know how he knew the son’s name but my friend only thought to call he son af­ter the fella went ’long with the money.

“They got some ‘wu­f­less’ peo­ple around, but that man could never come and tell me no­body send he for money for no­body else,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to the sto­ries of the man get­ting away with his ill-got­ten gains, there are nu­mer­ous ones of him fail­ing and flee­ing.

“This is a se­ri­ous thing. He comes around this sort of time at Christ­mas. He went and told a woman her brother sent him to pay util­i­ties, then snatch the money and run,” a wit­ness said.

Min­is­ter Forde said she was “dis­tressed’ to hear of the events and while she was un­aware of what was hap­pen­ing at Flagstaff, she knew swindlers were es­pe­cially ac­tive.

“It is truly un­for­tu­nate to hear these con­men are tak­ing away money which has to come from the pen­sions of the el­derly,” she said.

“I en­cour­age all se­niors not to let any strangers into their homes or take money from them to pay util­i­ties. . . . I also en­cour­age com­mu­ni­ties to be their broth­ers’ keep­ers and I pray the com­mu­nity spirit comes back into our so­ci­ety,” the min­is­ter said.

(FP)

MIN­IS­TER OF EL­DERLY AF­FAIRS Cyn­thia Forde is urg­ing se­niors to be wary of strangers.

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