A number of different kinds of phone scams have been reported recently, and in one case a victim gave in to the caller out of fear for her family's safety.
The frightened Brookfield woman called police Jan. 16 to say that a man had called her claiming to be from a collection agency, and he gave her a number she should call to speak to his supervisor.
When she did, she said, he demanded that she go to a Walmart store and buy a $1,000 Green Dot money card and then call him back and give him the card number.
When she hesitated, feeling that it probably was a fraud, he told her he would harm her family if she hung up on him. She stayed on the line and, after further bullying, she gave in and did as he asked, signing over $1,000 to him.
But she decided she'd had enough when the con man called again later and demanded $2,500 more. She refused and called police, who were investigating phone records at last report.
Also, two more phone scams were attempted against other Brookfield residents last week and another this week in which callers claimed to be relatives who had been arrested in foreign countries and needed money wired to them for bail and lawyers.
None of the intended victims fell for that, nor did a woman who this week was called by a supposed insurance agent claiming he needed to get her two checks for $25,000 each in settlement of a policy on her recently deceased husband.
The woman was pleased to hear about the unexpected payout until she heard the strange terms of exchange. Once again, the caller asked her to go out and buy a Green Dot money card and call him back with the number.
She realized she was being scammed, hung up and called police.
The Green Dot ploy was also tried in an incident bordering on the ridiculous in which a caller told a resident she had won a gold Mercedes Benz and $3.5 million dollars in the "Jamaican Lottery," and all she had to do was ... you know the rest.
Police warn that phone offers and requests for money are almost always fraudulent and should arouse immediate suspicions. The elderly and, as with one of the intended victims above, the recently widowed are frequent targets.
In the first case mentioned, the threat of violence should not be ignored but rather than giving in to demands, the police should be contacted immediately.