KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Gladstone woman was scammed out of nearly $80,000 in about a week.
The Kansas City Police Department did a lot of the leg work in tracking her down to hopefully stop help her from falling victim again. Her son, Steven Green, said they nearly stole her entire life’s savings.
“It was just unbelievable,” Green said.
The 78-year-old woman lost more than $75,000 from bank accounts she shares with Green.
“It was all hidden from me. They threatened her life. They said people were following her and all kinds of stuff. Scared the s*** out of her,” Green said.
It started with a phone call, scammers claiming to be with a federal agency. The knew nearly everything about he woman’s life: her son, when her mortgage would be paid off and more.
“They told her they were constantly following her. They were watching her in her car. They were watching her in her home,” KCPD Det. Lori Meadors said.
Scammers eventually got access to her account.
Each day they threatened her life and her son’s life if she didn’t purchase gift cards with cash and transfer the money.
“The way they had her taking out gift cards and cash and all kinds of stuff, it was pretty untraceable,” Green said.
It happened at two different Target locations in the Northland. She bought about $60,000 worth of pre-paid gift cards over the last week.
Police said several employees tried to warn her that this could be a scam.
“Whether it’s the IRS, the federal banking system or law enforcement, we are not going to request anything in gift cards,” Meadors said.
Another red flag: threats or anyone trying to stir up fear and anxiety.
KCPD shared her photo from a Target security camera on social media, hoping to identify the woman and stop her from sending any more money to these scam artists.
“These people don’t care. They have no boundaries, they have no rules and they have no morals,” Meadors said, “and they just want to take all of your money.”
While KCPD detectives were at the bank with the woman Thursday closing those compromised accounts, the scammer called.
A detective answered and told the caller — who had a foreign accent — that the gig was up. They would no longer be able to victimize this woman.
“We’re minus $78,000-$77,000 just gone,” Green said. “Untraceable.”
Police and Green want to warn others: Check in with your loved ones, make sure these scammers don’t claim them as their next victims.