Edmonds police warn of another telephone scam

EDMONDS — Police in Edmonds are warning people to be wary of another telephone scam after a local woman was swindled.

The Edmonds woman was bilked out of $3,000 Tuesday afternoon.

Edmonds Sgt. Mark Marsh said the huckster reached her on her cellphone and claimed he was an Edmonds police officer.

“The imposter told her that her nephew was in jail and that she needed to pay $3,000 to get him out of jail,” Marsh said.

He directed her to buy a prepaid payment card and had her provide information that allowed him to access the card to get the money.

“The bad thing is the person said they were Captain So-and-so and we don’t even have captains,” Marsh said.

The scammer tried to get the woman to send another $3,000 for phony legal fees, but a customer service worker at a local supermarket became suspicious and told her to call police.

Marsh said the scam is similar to ones from earlier this year. In those cases, people claiming to be IRS agents hoodwinked victims into believing they owed back taxes or run the risk of having a lien placed on their property.

The latest scam in Edmonds was a variation of one that took in an Everett man last month. In that case, the victim, 74, lost $2,000.

The scammer claimed to be his grandson and spun a convincing yarn about being a passenger in a car where police found drugs and an unregistered handgun. The man began crying on the phone, and another voice — pretending to be a police official — explained that $2,000 was needed immediately.

As happened in the Edmonds case, the Everett man was told to buy a Green Dot card to pay the money to get his grandson out of trouble.

Scammers often ask for prepaid Green Dot or Reloadit cards and use phones that are hard to trace and can be easily dumped.

“The vast majority of the time these (scammers) aren’t local people,” Marsh said. “Who knows how many go unreported.”

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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