Attempted scam saw woman visit intended victim in Belle Vernon
Police are investigating a phone scam involving an elderly Belle Vernon woman that saw someone coming to her home posing as a cab driver to take her to a local store to withdraw cash.
Southwest Regional police Chief John Hartman said the unidentified victim – a 91-year-old from Main Street – notified police Thursday after she received a call stating she had won a large sum of money and that a cab would be sent for her to collect her winnings. She told police the caller said he was from New York.
Not long after, Hartman said, a female appeared at the woman's residence in a black and white car. The female driver told the woman she needed to pay taxes before collecting the prize money and offered to drive her to a nearby supermarket to perform a money transfer, Hartman said.
Hartman said this was the first instance in local phone scams where someone actually showed up in person to complete a transaction.
“Normally, they tell the victim, ‘We'll have somebody stop by your house,' but I haven't had anyone actually stop by the house, just them continuing to call, so this is a unique situation,” Hartman said. “That is creepy … it would lead you to believe there is a local connection. That would add a new wrinkle to this whole thing.”
After the visit, a son of the victim received a second phone call at his mother's residence before passing on the information to police.
Hartman said police attempted to call the numbers, attained through Caller ID, but did not get any response. Hartman said the calls appeared to come from outside the United States.
“The second time the call came in, it was under a different name,” Hartman said. “We don't know how they got her number or whether it was a random call. She was smart enough to refuse to go with the woman, then contact her son. They clearly have a racket set up to do this.”
Hartman is still seeking information to investigate if the caller is in cahoots with someone in the immediate area.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 724-929-8484 or via the department's Facebook page at Southwest Reg Pd.
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cal U students aid Fayette survey
- Man’s holiday spirit lights up Belle Vernon
- 2 charged in Charleroi drug, gun find case
- Convocation center booze battle rages on for California and Cal U
- Trio arrested by Monessen police on drug charges
- Trials ordered for 2 charged in Monongahela mugging case
- West Newton foster father faces child sex charges
- News was plentiful in pre-holiday rush of December 1957
- Alleged Rostraver home invasion conspirator to face trial
- Keystone’s expansion to Greensburg going well
- Occupants flee after car crashes into house in Monessen