Cab driver from West Mifflin thwarts scam attempt
A cab driver put the brakes on a scam that would have cost an elderly Castle Shannon man hundreds of dollars, police say.
David Capizzi, 61, of West Mifflin knew something was wrong Nov. 8 when his 82-year-old client told him that he just received a call saying he had won a Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.
All the man had to do to claim his $5 million prize was go to the bank, withdraw $500 and call back for further instructions. They even offered to call a cab for him.
“They told him he couldn't tell anybody,” said Capizzi, a Yellow Cab driver of nearly a year. “That was the icing on the cake.”
This was no ordinary fare from the beginning, Capizzi said. When he first arrived at the home, there was no answer at the door, so he phoned the number his dispatcher provided as a contact. There was no answer.
Just before Capizzi was going to leave, the man came out of his home and relayed his story. Capizzi persuaded the man, who declined to comment or be identified, to go back into his home. Capizzi escorted him inside, where the man called his daughter.
Capizzi then received a call on his phone from a blocked number. It was a woman claiming to be the man's granddaughter.
“She wanted to know if we were at the bank yet,” Capizzi said.
He told her no, and she demanded to speak to the man. That cemented Capizzi's suspicion. He hung up.
“That's when I called this thing off,” Capizzi said.
The would-be victim then called police.
Such scams are common in Western Pennsylvania, where con artists know there's a concentration of older adults, said Castle Shannon police Chief Ken Truver.
His department fields three or four similar calls a month, ranging from sweepstakes scams to people pretending to be debt collectors. “Seniors can be easily confused,” he said. “They believe there is good in people.”
Truver said con artists often use disposable phones and live out of the country, making it impossible for local departments to apprehend them.
Capizzi said he was happy to help, especially because his mother has been a target of a scam.
“I would be thrilled to put some of these guys away,” Capizzi said.
Rachel Weaver is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Duquesne University football player died by suicide
- Pittsburgh police searching for man who shot juvenile in Allentown
- National Weather Service predicts up to 7 inches of snow before Sunday night
- More departments in region eye equipping officers with Narcan to treat overdoses
- Burial set for remains of World War II soldier from Perrysville
- Faithful stand together in Wilkinsburg
- Port Authority focusing on natural-gas bus fleet for proposed rapid transit line
- McCandless mortgage broker company president charged with bank fraud conspiracy
- New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers
- Pittsburgh police chief: Officers, public must unite against violence
- Email scam hooks Carnegie Mellon University employees