Better Call Jackson: Internet scam takes advantage of developmentally disabled man

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — An unsolicited request comes to your computer email.  It seems innocent enough until it asks you for your personal contact information.  The red flags should be flying at this point because the person behind that email wants to separate you from your hard-earned money.

Typically, the emails come from Nigeria or from a foreign country.

In some cases, the email is marked as “urgent,” “top secret” or “confidential” to pressure you into acting immediately. There could be a promise of sharing or transferring millions of dollars.

Richard Evans of Columbus received one of those emails, but it came from a “lonely” person named, Mary, who said she needed money for groceries and sick friends.  Richard started sending chunks of cash: $340, then $800, then $950.  The operators at the other end then approached him for $9,000. Richard sent the money and was told he would be repaid.  A week later, a $9,000 money order arrived for Richard, but it was bogus.

“I watch it on TV all the time and just on TV, but when it happens to someone you truly love, it’s very heart-breaking,” said Teresa Young, Richards’ mother.

Although he lives alone, Richard is developmentally disabled, he is also unable to hear and speak.  His mother discovered the problem when he informed her he might go to jail or lose his home.  Richard had taken out a $25,000 loan against his home.

Richard’s bank is involved in an investigation into the case.  The plug has been pulled on his internet use to avoid a similar mess.  These crimes are difficult to investigate and prosecute.

The best action is to ignore these unsolicited efforts to steal your money.  If you or someone you know is taken, you can contact the Attorney General Office and the National Law enforcement agency that covers that particular country.

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