Savvy Senior Avoids Getting Tricked by Scam

Savvy Senior Avoids Getting Tricked by Scam ctechad

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 14, 2014)

When Jeannie Davis got a phone call saying that she had won $1.4 million she figured that something was wrong. The retired real estate appraiser and President of the Ferndale Seniors group knows that “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

But unfortunately, every day older adults fall prey to scam artists that target senior citizens.  Davis hopes that by sharing her story it will make others aware of the danger of believing everything they hear.

“A few days ago a man called to say I had won 1.4 million dollars and he would call in a few days to tell me how to collect. Jokingly, I said how excited I was, and hung up,” Davis said. “I was playing along by then, JudyPalmer01because I knew I was going to the police and wanted more information.”

The man called her three times on Tuesday, telling her that a $5,000 initial check was on its way.  On Wednesday she got the check delivered to her home via Federal Express.

“He called me then telling me that I was to hurry and deposit it, not cash it. Then he said he would call back to tell me what to do next. By this time he was calling me his ‘sweet little sugar mama’ and saying that he was praying for me,” Davis said.  “Sure enough he called me with a name and address for me to send $4,000 ‘In good faith.’ During this entire sequence of events, the scammers warned me against telling my family and friends, said I should act quickly, etc.”

The $4,000 was supposed to be a processing fee.  Davis pretended to agree, but then contacted the police.

“Thursday morning I had the police over and gave them everything. They said I could blow off the pride2014adscammers and tell them I had gone to the police. When the scammers called again, I told them the police had the check, they said, no it was a good check, and not a scam. Then, Thursday afternoon, a different person called pretending to be with the Ferndale Police.  He said the check was good, and to come get it and put it in the bank and send a check to the name I was given.”

At that point Davis told the caller off and told them not to contact her any more.  Ferndale Police are investigating, but told Davis that often scam artists like this are making their calls from over-seas where they can be hard to track.

The man had wanted Davis to send her check to an address in Ann Arbor, that police told her is non-existent.  The man also wanted her to save the Fed Ex routing number so she could give it to him on the phone, presumably so he could change the destination.  Through their conversations they also tried to sidebar01sponsorget her cell phone number, bank location and balance, and other private information.

“Maybe if people read about this, they will be aware,” she said.  “It’s dangerous stuff.”

In 2013, a Madison Heights woman was scammed out of $100,000 after being told she won a $1.9 million lottery.  In 2012 a senior and another elderly couple in Ferndale had money stolen after two men claiming to be from “the water department” told him them they were owed a refund, but that they needed change.

Earlier this year Troy Police issued a press release warning of scams targeting seniors.  For the complete list, go to

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