The Yolo County District Attorney's Office is alerting residents to a surge in scams targeting older adults in the county.
Reports from victims in West Sacramento, Davis and Woodland indicate that phony sweepstakes and the "Grandma, It's Me" telephone scams are continuing to be used to trick people into wiring money outside the country, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.
In one instance, more than $4,000 was lost in a phony sweepstakes scam after a con artist pretending to be from the Federal Trade Commission persuaded a local senior citizen to wire money to Costa Rica, officials said. In another recent case, an elderly woman was tricked into sending all the money she had in her savings account to someone claiming to be her grandson who was out of the country and in trouble. She believed him and sent the money in an effort to help.
Authorities warn that international scam artists use telephone, email, the postal service and the Internet to cross geographic boundaries and trick people into wiring money or giving out personal information like bank account, credit card and social security numbers.
People are advised to be cautious when asked to wire money for any reason. Officials suggest checking with a knowledgeable family member, friend or trusted adviser first, because once it has been sent, the money cannot be retrieved.
Information about popular schemes will be provided at the 2012 Yolo/Sacramento Fraud Awareness Fair on Oct. 10. The event, presented free of charge, will be at the West Sacramento Civic Center, 1110 West Capitol Ave.