Moraga police, on the pointy end of the spear when it comes to the scourge of telephonic fraud committed against its citizenry, recently outlined some old scams that continue to net their perpetrators huge sums – as much as $100,000 in one case – and we applaud that effort.
We’ve written quite a bit about this problem, estimated to net their largely off-shore perpetrators billions – with a “b” – each year, but the message doesn’t appear to be getting through to the retirees and nice people who fall victim to their game on a regular basis.
In their latest advisory, Moraga police detailed a personal experience with a relative victimized by a simple con, and we empathized – particularly since one of our own NEWS24/680 family members almost fell victim to a new con the police haven’t mentioned and most of you have probably never heard about.
We’re going to call it “The Limpet,” and it is particularly insidious because it appears to be targeting older folks and makes use of mobile bank accounts easily established with inside information obtained at legitimate companies conducting legitimate business with the intended victim.
The Limpet combines the proliferation and availability of key personal data with the easy use of hard-to-track mobile bank accounts – banking systems opened online by anyone with the requisite information.
It worked this way: within days of an elder updating his financial information at a firm handling his pension payments, banking and Social Security Administration officials noticed the creation of a new mobile account – supposedly “designated” by the retiree to receive future pension and social security payments.
Left unquestioned, all future payments due the victim would have been fed into this account, where it would have been easily accessed by the perpetrator. Luckily, the new account was spotted and questioned by the retiree’s banking advisor.
After half a day standing in long lines and dealing with the Social Security Administration, we were able to learn the Limpet Account had been established at GoBank, a Division of Green DOT Bank, and was live and ready to receive funds.
Luckily, we got to it in time, and – rather than bother Moraga police with the attempted theft – we took our case to federal banking officials. While we know the perpetrators of these crimes are good at covering their tracks, we have hopes of finding – and punishing – those responsible.
… because we loathe people willing to steal from the elderly. How about you?
I loathe people willing to steal from the elderly too. It’s sad, and pathetic. There’s a special place for these people, and it isn’t heaven.
So someone took your info and created a second account and then redirected money into the second account??? That’s pretty spooky. We talk with our parents about this all the time.
May someone be there to prey on them when they’re old and vulnerable.
How did the perps get the inside information? Did they penetrate the firm handling the pension payments or did they get the information directly from the victim? Was the “financial update” a phishing ruse?
Still to be determined, Jim, though both avenues are being considered… hoping to know more once the origin of the secondary account is determined, if it can be. We’re thinking those responsible took steps to cover their tracks.