Cmdr. Daniel Roberts
There’s a new warning about an increase in scams targeting the elderly in Los Alamos and the Los Alamos Police Department (LAPD) is sounding the alarm, especially about new ways criminals are trying to take advantage of elderly or vulnerable citizens.
LAPD said that phone scams targeting the elderly are on the rise in Los Alamos. In 2021, there were 67 crimes that involved fraud or scammers trying to get money. This is up from 54 in 2020; in the first five months of 2022 there have already been 20 cases.
Cmdr. Daniel Roberts said LAPD has no patience for those who target the most vulnerable.
“We’ll go above and beyond when investigating these crimes that target our elderly,” Cmdr. Roberts said. “Our investigations unit spends hours upon hours trying to find who these individuals are and bring charges to the offenders. However, sometimes these criminals leave no trace of who they really are, which makes prosecution extremely difficult.”
LAPD is warning the elderly and the citizens of Los Alamos about scams.
“That’s the bottom line. You must question anybody who calls you out of the blue and says send me money for x, y or z,” Cmdr. Roberts said. “At no time will the federal or county government, IRS, Police Department, Microsoft, or someone you know ask you to send money out of the blue. Especially via gift cards or cashier’s check.”
LAPD stated that the increase of people sending money to someone they do not know is alarming. These are not small cases with a couple hundred dollars, but rather large amounts well into the thousands. Scammers pick out elderly individuals who are more trusting and less knowledgeable in technology practices.
LAPD asks the community to be careful with disposing your personal information. Personal information can be used to open credit cards, in identity theft and to gather information to make scams feel more realistic.
LAPD offers the following suggestions:
- If you feel the call, email, or message is strange in any way, please do not respond or give information.
- Never send money by gift cards or cards that can be purchased at smiths, target, or Walmart
- Do not send large amounts of money to someone you do not know
- Do not give out personal identifiable information to individuals you do not know, especially on social media, Instagram, or Facebook
- If it is someone claiming to be a relative or friend of a relative, contact the relative first before you continue the conversation. Use the contact numbers you already know, not the ones given in the email or message
- If you or a family member may be scammed, do research, talk to the police, or seek guidance before you act on anything involving sending money
- The Police Department, the IRS, or any other government agency will never call asking you to send money to clear up an issue
Contact the police if you have any questions concerning this situation. If individuals feel they are victims of a crime, please contact the Police Department at 2500 Trinity Dr., Los Alamos, or call 505.662.8222.