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Scam plan fizzles as victim wises up

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 8:42 am

A 70-year-old Fort Wayne man was courted by scam artists for weeks, but his suspicions – and a savvy clerk at Walmart Monday afternoon – stopped him from becoming a victim.

Fort Wayne Police, who did not release the man’s name, said he received a letter telling him he was a “winner” several weeks ago, a letter that included a check for $2,000. Employees at the man’s bank determined the check was an “excellent forgery,” according to police. Since that time, the man told police, he’s received calls telling him that he’s won a new car and, later, $2.5 million.

All he had to do to cart home the prize was provide a delivery fee of $900. Eventually the callers whittled down their delivery fee to $105, an amount they asked be loaded onto a Walmart gift card. The would-be victim went to Walmart, 10420 Maysville Road, but was persuaded by a clerk there that the scheme was probably a scam and that he should call police instead.

The plan had been for the callers to meet the “winner” at his home. As he told police in the parking lot at Walmart, he had provided them with his address, and was worried about his safety now. As the victim rehashed the history of this attempt to fleece him, he got a call on his cell phone from his impatient scammers. He took the call, then handed the phone to the police officer interviewing him.

The officer talked with the caller, who had turned bashful and would identify himself only as “Michael.”

“I explained that police had been contacted concerning the forthcoming delivery and would likely be present. ‘Michael’ politely thanked me and hung up,” Officer Kelly Parnell wrote in a report on the incident.