October 1, 2010 - At least two victims, in their 80's, have been scammed recently. On September 17, here in Vernon Hills, a woman was approached while in the parking lot of Home Depot by an African American woman, who appeared to be about 65 years old (to the victim). The suspect was holding a cosmetic bag, which she stated she found. It was full of money. The female told the victim that she knew an accountant, who she then called and was informed they could keep the money as long as they paid the taxes on it. After providing half the money, the female gave the victim the bag to hold and then left, saying they would meet later to divide the money. The bag was filled with index cards and the victim was robbed of her money.
A few days later, at the Sam's Club parking lot in Gurnee, an elderly gentleman was approached by a male, described as possibly Middle Eastern, about 50 years old, 5' 6" tall and weighing approximately 185 pounds. He spoke with an accent and may have had some facial hair. The man told the victim he had found some money. An African American woman then joined them (40-45 years old, 5' 5" tall and weighing about 150 pounds) and together, they convinced the victim to give them money. They then took his money and left. It appears the victim was targeted in part because of his age and the fact that he was alone.
These types of scams usually happen the same way: an elderly victim is approached by someone claiming to have "found" some money. Another suspect typically enters into the conversation to help convince the victim that they could all share the money. One of the suspects will claim to know someone, perhaps a lawyer or an accountant, who will know what to do and they will make a call to this person. The suspects will then claim that they can keep the money as long as they both provide "good faith" money or pay taxes on it. Both parties will put their money into a bag, which the suspects say the victim can hold on to while they park the car or some other excuse. The victim will then find the bag is filled with useless paper and their money is gone.
If anyone has experienced this or has information about these crimes, please contact either the Vernon Hills Police Department (847-362-4449), the Gurnee Police Department (847-599-7000) or the Lake County Crime Stoppers (847-662-2222).
For information on other crimes directed at the elderly, please see our page on Scamming the Elderly.