A Brooklyn woman fell for a phone scam and ended up forking over nearly $10,000 when someone, pretending to be her friend, claimed he had been arrested and needed money. Now the police have released a sketch of the scammer.
The incident occurred last year, on October 21, 2016, around 3:20 p.m. The victim, a 66-year-old woman, was in her home in Clinton Hill near Clinton Avenue and Lafayette Avenue, when, according to the NYPD, the suspect called her "on her home phone and posed as a friend. The individual told her that he was under arrest and asked her for $9,500 in cash for bail money."
The victim agreed, police say, and then a man in a "green four door sedan and collected the money from her. After that individual left, the victim received another call asking for more money."
At this point, the victim became suspicious and called the friend directly—and found out he was never arrested.
This is a variation of the "grandparent scam" where criminal target the elderly and pose as their grandchildren and claim they need money immediately for a variety of reasons (car broke down, stranded in foreign country, etc). A few years ago, C. Steven Baker, director of the Midwest division of the Federal Trade Commission told us that the scam started in Montreal, with crooks reading obituaries to gather details about deceased individuals and their survivors—the widows/widowers, plus the names of the grandchildren. Now criminals are able to get that information off social media.
The suspect, who is wanted for grand larceny, is described by authorities as being 25-30 years old with a slim build, short "Afro" styled hair, no facial hair and a dark birthmark on the left side of his face.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.