Elderly being targeted in ‘cash scam'

March 13th, 2017 7:10 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

The scam involves asking the homeowner to produce their own money

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LOCAL gardaí have issued another warning to elderly people living alone, following the latest incident of a scam targeting a senior citizen.

On March 3rd last, two men called to a property at Gurtafludig, Ballingeary, at around 10.05am.

They said they were garda detectives and produced cash to an elderly woman living in the house. They said they had found the money in her yard.

They then told her they needed to check if the cash in her house was stolen, by looking at the serial numbers.

When she got her wallet and produced the cash, one of the men snatched it and they both made off hastily.

‘Incidents like this have taken place all over Munster in recent weeks. We have had several previous incidents of people asking elderly or retired people, whom they have targeted specifically, to get their money so the serial numbers can be checked,’ said crime prevention officer Sgt Ian O’Callaghan.

‘We are asking people to be on high alert because this scam has, in fact, been going on for years,’ he said, adding that non-uniformed gardaí will never call to a house without an appointment, and will never ask to see personal cash.

Sgt O’Callaghan reminded the public that a security pendant, which is 100% grant-aided, is now available to all people feeling vulnerable.

He pointed out that there is also a ‘bogus caller button’ available whereby the pendant owner can press a button at their door to alert a monitoring centre. The centre can then listen to the conversation at the front door, and if they are not satisfied that the homeowner is safe, they can alert one of three people nominated by the homeowner, to make contact.

‘I would also advise people to use general safety devices like door chains and the bogus caller card, and not to open the door if they don’t feel safe,’ he added.

The bogus caller card can be handed to a visitor and they are then asked to fill out details and return it with contact information added, so the homeowner can choose whether or not to make contact.

Meanwhile, Sgt O’Callaghan will join with Chief Supt Con Cadogan and Garda Ambrose Whitty in the Community Hall in Caheragh on Thursday March 9th, at 8.30pm, to outline details of a Community Alert Scheme in the area, and offer tips and advice on home security.

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