Widow is scammed while trying to help others avoid fraud

June 14, 2010

A grieving widow trying to help prevent elderly from being scammed out of their money ended up falling for a hoax that cost her $5,800.

According to Wauwatosa police:

The incident happened Wednesday morning, when the woman received a call from a man asking whether one of her checks had been fraudulently cashed.

After telling him "no," the man explained that a con artist was trying to bilk elderly people out of their money. He went on to say that he was "Lt. Cromwell" and that he worked for her bank. He asked if she would want to help him catch the thieves.

Later he called back and told her to go to her bank and withdraw $5,800, and that he would then meet her in the Mayfair Mall parking lot. He added that police would be watching the sting take place.

They met, she gave him the money and he left.

When she got home, she received another call thanking her for her help and asking that she not tell anyone about the incident. She quickly realized she would not be getting her money back.

What she thought was her bank looking out for her - her husband had died a month earlier and she was sorting out their finances - turned out to be a scam, so she went to police.

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