Law enforcement and U.S. Postal Inspection Service officials managed to foil a scam that nearly bilked a 79-year-old St. James man out of $9,500 in cash earlier this month, Suffolk County police said Wednesday.
The scam was foiled when postal inspectors intercepted the priority mail express box filled with $100 bills en route to an address in St. Louis, police said. No arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing, police said.
The incident was the latest in a series of phone scams that have targeted elderly and vulnerable adults in Nassau and Suffolk.
In this version, police said, a caller contacted the St. James resident on April 8, telling the man his grandson had been involved in a car crash and had been arrested. The caller then told the man he needed to send $9,500 in cash to an address in St. Louis in order to pay the grandson's bail.
The man loaded the cash into a USPS overnight delivery box and sent it off. But, police said, he later was able to contact his grandson, determining the whole incident was a scam.
The man then called police, and detectives from the Suffolk Police Financial Crimes Unit contacted postal inspection service officials, who intercepted the box en route to its final destination, police said. The cash was handed over to police Tuesday for return to the victim, police said.
"We would like to remind people to be alert to scams such as this one, as well as those involving the IRS, Social Security and utility companies," Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a statement Wednesday
Hart also urged residents to be aware of a new series of potential scams related to COVID-19.