Conman preying on seniors
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”.
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.
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.
“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.
MINISTER OF ELDERLY AFFAIRS Cynthia Forde is urging seniors to be wary of strangers.