LAPD NEWS RELEASE
There’s a new warning about an increase in scams targeting the elderly in Los Alamos. Los Alamos Police Department is sounding the alarm, especially about new ways criminals are trying to take advantage of elderly or vulnerable citizens.
“In 2021, there were 67 crimes involving 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 in our community and we will go above and beyond when investigating these crimes.”
Roberts said the LAPD Investigations Unit spends hours trying to find out who these individuals are and charge them. However, sometimes these criminals leave no trace of who they really are, which makes prosecution extremely difficult, he said.
“The bottom line is that you must question anybody that calls you out of the blue and says, ‘Send me money for x, y, or z’. At no time will federal or county government, the IRS, the police department, Microsoft, or someone you know ask you to send money out of the blue, especially via gift cards or cashiers checks,” Roberts said.
He said the increase in the number of people sending money to someone they don’t know is alarming.
“These are not small cases involving a couple of hundred dollars. They involve large amounts well into the thousands. Scammers select elderly individuals who are more trusting and sometimes less knowledgeable in technology practices,” Roberts said.
LAPD asks the community to be careful with disposing of their personal information.
“Personal information can be used to open credit cards, used in identity theft, and to gather information to make scams feel more realistic,” Roberts said.
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
If you have any questions about this situation or believe you are a victim of a crime, call LAPD at (505) 662-8222, or stop by the Department at 2500 Trinity Drive.