He Told Her How to Protect Her $230K. It Was a Scam

Illinois woman, 74, fell prey to convincing scammer
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2022 3:06 PM CDT
He Told Her How to Protect Her $230K. It Was a Scam
   (Getty/Tero Vesalainen)

CBS Chicago offers a cautionary tale about scammers preying on seniors. In this one, 74-year-old Henriette Schmuhl believed a man who phoned her to inform her there was a warrant out for her arrest. The man purported to be from Homeland Security, provided a fake badge number and case number, and told Schmuhl she could call the police to verify if she wanted—but she should be prepared to be arrested if she did so. Instead, she went along with his plan to protect her identify by eventually getting a new Social Security number. The first step, he explained, was to transfer her life's savings to new accounts to temporarily protect the funds.

"I was so afraid," she tells the outlet. By the time the man stopped communicating with her, Schmuhl had lost about $230,000. Authorities have traced the caller to a number in Malta, but it's doubtful her loss will be recovered. Family members have set up a GoFundMe account for her in the meantime. A post at Kiplinger runs through some potential remedies to protect seniors' money from such scams, including setting up a conservatorship. (A relatively new type of romance scam is now in circulation.)

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