Two talent women targeted by international scam

Scammers attempted to bilk two Talent women out of thousands of dollars by claiming to be young relatives in need of money while traveling in Canada.

Talent police are warning people about the scam, which appears to prey on senior citizens who are concerned about family members.

"It's not your average scam," Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said. "It has little barbs that bother me."

Both victims got calls from young men who claimed to be an out-of-state relative — a nephew in one case and a grandson in the other. In each case, the caller used the woman's name and said he had been in a car accident and needed money because people were injured and he was going to get in trouble.

One woman sent $6,800 to Calgary, Alberta, on Wednesday via Western Union, then got another call on Thursday asking for $4,000 more. The second woman was preparing to send $5,800 to the same address in Calgary Thursday when an alert clerk processing the Western Union transaction at Wal-Mart warned her that it could be a scam because another woman had just wired money to that address in a similar situation.

Moran praised the clerk for speaking up to help. He also warned people to take precautions about wiring money out of the country, even when they are worried about family.

"If it is legit, an extra hour or so won't matter," he said.

He advised calling the relative's home number or another family member to confirm the situation, and taking time to consult with a trusted adviser. If the caller tells you to keep the issue a secret, that is another clue that it might be a scam.

Money sent outside the U.S. is unlikely to be retrieved and jurisdiction issues can make it hard to track suspects internationally and prosecute them.

— Anita Burke

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