Charlottesville man and friends spreading awareness about scams targeting the elderly

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 2:51 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville man and his friends are working to spread awareness about the costly and dangerous scams targeting the elderly.

Jim Todd’s friend got a call saying they’d won millions of dollars, but had to pay administration costs. His friends, William and Lynda Webster, turned down the scammer, who they say began to threaten them. What the scammer didn’t know is Bill Webster is a former director of the FBI.

“Even in his 90s he is still pretty sharp fellow,” Todd said. “He kept talking to the guy and said he couldn’t make a decision and got him to call back.”

The calls became violent: “This was all a lot of bluff, but it still was a very difficult thing for them,” Todd said.

Todd says scammers have also tried to target him: “I get three or four calls a day, usually from somebody trying to sell me something about Social Security or Medicare,” he said. “If you’re old and you’re worried about finances, and of course we have inflation that making it more scary for old people, you want to know that you’ve won a prize or you’ve gotten an inheritance from someone you didn’t know. So you’re inclined to want to follow up on it, and that’s the worst thing you can do.”

The Better Business Bureau says the best thing to do is take a moment and think:

“Con-artists out there, they want you to make a hasty, quick decision, because it’s usually wrong, right? Right now, you got to do it now or else that offers not going to be there, and I always tell people it’s important to take a step back. If that that sweepstakes that lottery prize is so important it’s going to be there tomorrow,” Leslie Blackwell said.

The FBI worked with Webster to create a public service announcement to warn others. If you are worried you have been a victim of a scam you can call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

More resources from the BBB can be found here.

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