Scam artists targeting elderly residents

DOWNEY - The Downey Police Department is warning residents of a recurring scam in which unsuspecting residents - typically elderly women - are asked to help cash a fraudulent lottery ticket.According to police, a single suspect will contact the victim in a public place such as a grocery store or retail parking lot and show the resident a lottery ticket. The suspect often claims they are unable to collect the winnings due to a lack of citizenship or identification. A second suspect will then pose as a bystander and act as though they are interested in helping the original suspect cash the ticket. The first suspect then tells the victim that the lottery office requires a cash deposit before the winning ticket can be cashed. The second suspect will offer to provide part of the deposit if the victim will provide a portion of the deposit as well. Both suspects then take the victim to a local bank where they will remain in the car while the victim withdraws a large sum of cash from his or her personal account. After withdrawing the money, the suspects will drive the victim around town, looking for an opportunity to grab the victim's cash and flee the scene. Although the scam has been around for several years, a Downey resident recently lost $25,000 after falling victim, police said. The suspects in these cases typically target elderly women but have been known to change that pattern if the opportunity arises. Anyone with questions regarding the scams is encouraged to call Downey Police Department detectives Mark Galindo at (562) 904-2326 or Jerry Price at (562) 904-2359.

********** Published: August 04, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 16