H-PASO ROBLES

Dec 3, 2010 10:12 PM by Danielle Lerner

Phone scam targets local seniors

A warning for seniors after a local couple is nearly scammed out of thousands of dollars.

It is a scam that usually targets seniors, where the caller poses as a friend who needs bail money.

Local crime prevention experts say it is one of the most common phone scams but that does not keep people from falling for it.

One Paso Robles couple says the caller was pretty convincing.

Seventy-eight-year-old Ted Trompeter and his wife, Arleen, were enjoying a typical afternoon at their Paso Robles home when the phone rang.

On the other end was a man claiming to be their friend Chris. He said he was arrested while hunting in Canada and needed Ted to speak with a Canadian law enforcement officer to organize bail money.

"He was authoritative, sounded legitimate, and he put me through this list of procedures I should go through," said Trompeter.

The list included withdrawing $6,400 cash from his bank and wiring it to a Charlie Kim in Sydney, Australia through a nearby Western Union. Ted says that is when he started asking questions.

"When I questioned him more he got a little profane and hung up," Trompeter said.

The couple's daughter is KSBY's own Jeanette Trompeter. When she called the number her dad was given, the games continued.

The man claimed to be with the Ontario Provincial Police but when she questioned him further he too hung up.

So even though the Trompeters did not lose any money, Ted says it is still upsetting to know there are people out there preying on people's willingness to help a friend in need.

"If he was in real trouble, it would have been on its way," Trompeter said.

Local law enforcement officials say it is extremely difficult to track these scammers down because they are often overseas.

So they focus on prevention. The Federal Trade Commission also has an entire section of its web site dedicated to recognizing and reporting phone scams. We have posted a link in the Newslinks section of ksby.com.

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