Sweepstakes and lotteries tend to suck in the elderly more than others. You’re told you have won a sweepstakes, for example. “Enclosed is a check for $5700,” says Paul Greenwood, head of elder abuse prosecutions in the district attorney’s office. “You’re told you must send $3700 for taxes and expenses. You send it and their check bounces,” he says. You’re stuck. The scamsters are in Canada, but he can’t locate them.
“The smoking-car scam is another,” says Greenwood. An elderly person is driving. “Your car is about to explode,” shouts someone who says he is a mechanic. He gets the victim to take money out of the bank. The purported mechanic does a lot of unneeded work and pockets the money. Greenwood says a chap named Sonny Mitchell has just pleaded guilty to stealing from the elderly in pulling this scam.