A 70-year-old Kennewick woman is out several tens of thousands of dollars, and she'll most likely never see it again.
KENNEWICK, WA - A 70-year-old Kennewick woman is out several tens of thousands of dollars, and she'll most likely never see it again.
Officers were called to the 1000 block of West 15th Place around 11am Wednesday to check out a fraud report. Officers say fraud is becoming increasingly more common with elderly victims.
The elderly victim told police she had been scammed several of thousands of dollars from a Publisher Clearing House. She also told officers that on October 4th, she got a phone call from a woman named Debra Holland from a phone number that was out of the area. Debra told the victim she had won $1 million dollars and a brand new Mercedes car from the Publisher Clearing House drawing.
Debra went on to tell the victim that she shouldn't tell anyone about her winning because "people would come out of the woods" to try and get her money, even her family.
When officers tried to call Debra at the phone number she called the woman from, it went to a voicemail with a generic message stating, "This is publishers clearing house, this is publishers clearing house, please leave a message and we will call you back." The voice on the recording belonged to a woman.
The victim also told officers that Debra had the victim make payments to receive the money. Debra told the victim she could make those payments by using the Green Dot money cards.
At that point, the victim said she got about 45-50 Green Dot money cards to pay Publishers Clearing House so she could collect her winnings. She got Green Dot cards and gave Debra the scratched off account numbers. The victim last checked and all the Green Dot cards had been used and have a "zero balance."
A few days later on October 7th, the victim was called again. This time by a man named Wells Burnhart. He also called from a phone number that was out of the area. He advised the victim he was calling about the victim owing several thousands of dollars of back taxes to the IRS. He told the victim to send a $10,000 money order to a man named Todd Jenkins, 30 Belden Street, East Hartford, CT, which she did.
On October 8th, the victim got another phone call from Debra stating she needed to wire even more money to a Wells Fargo account. The victim did what she was told, and sent the money to an account Debra told her.
All together, the victim has sent several tens of thousands of dollars, which most likely will not be recovered.
On October 9th, at about 10am, the victim stated that she heard a knock at her front door and a white man, approximately 20-25 years of age, long shaggy brown hair saying he was at her home to pick her up to go to Wal-Mart per Publishers Clearing house.
She also added that he was in a white SUV with the word "Taxi" on the driver side door. The vehicle did not list a business name. The victim said the man handed her a phone in which another man was on the other end. The man on the phone stated "why have you changed your phone number." She told the male at the door to leave and she gave him back the phone.
The Kennewick Police Department wants to remind citizens to be cognizant about requests for money over the phone and through the mail and encourages you to immediately report any unusual requests for money to the Kennewick Police Department.