Edna, an elderly woman, lived alone in a quiet subdivision. She usually was very careful about letting people into her home. However, a young woman came to her door “who looked nice enough.” Edna instinctively trusted her. The young woman’s name was “Marcie,” who was wandering the neighborhood and apparently was lost. She needed to borrow Edna’s phone so a friend would come and pick her up. Edna let Marcie into her home to use the phone without a second thought. Once the call was made, Marcie asked Edna for a Band-Aid. She had injured herself on her walk, and her injury was causing her some discomfort. Edna, the ever-gracious hostess, jumped up to retrieve Marcie a Band-Aid. Once Marcie had the Band-Aid, she thanked Edna and left, assuring her that her ride would be there soon.
After Marcie had gone, Edna left to go to a doctor’s appointment. After the appointment, she went to pay and realized that her credit card, cash, checks, and Medicare ID were missing. She frantically looked all over her purse, but her wallet was nowhere to be found. The receptionist at the doctor’s office put the charge on her bill and assured her that she could pay it later. That was some relief to Edna.
At home, she looked around, but her items were gone. She had no money and no credit cards to buy groceries either so she was in a bit of a crunch. Luckily, she had a son she called who was able to help. In the meantime, he suggested she call her credit card company and her bank to alert them. She was in such a panic that the thought had never entered her mind.
She called the credit card company, and to her dismay learned that within the past few hours several purchases were made. “Marcie” purchased gas, airline tickets, lunch at a fancy restaurant, and a few hundred dollars worth of clothes. Right away, she wanted to dispute the charges and report her card as stolen. The Visa representative explained the procedure for that and mailed her some paperwork.
At the bank, since she didn’t have her checks, she had to answer a lot of background questions before they would even consider giving her information about her account. Luckily, there were no purchases made. She wanted to close her account but couldn’t because she could not produce the proper ID. She needed her driver’s license, which she did not have. One more hurdle for her to go through. All of this because she let a seemingly, nice young lady come in to use her phone.
Now, reporting her Medicare card as stolen was the next step. She also contacted the Federal Trade Commission, police, and creditors to alert each that her identity had possibly been stolen. She had heard horrible stories on TV and in the newspaper about what happens to people who have become identity-theft victims. That was the last thing she wanted happening to her! Also, she had called her local Better Business Bureau to report how she had been scammed so that others could be warned, which is why this blog is being written today.
Should you ever go through anything similar to this or other type of scam or know of someone who has, please contact us! We want to help and make sure that others are not victimized. Please, DO NOT be quick to let strangers in your home no matter how innocent and kind they may look. Keep in mind that few people showing up at your door to steal money, credit cards, or other personal information are going to “look the part.” There are public places that people can go to seek help. Send them on their way and close the door. Scammers take advantage of people and the best way to explain them is to call them “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Take no chances.