Police are investigating a scam involving an elderly Bellevue couple who lost $1,000,000 to fraud. Investigators say the couple received a phone call claiming the couple sent fake vaccines overseas and that they were going to be sued. The couple protested they weren’t the senders and the scammer said to file a police report to “prove their innocence.” The couple then received a call from someone claiming to be a police officer in China threatening to arrest and deport them to China.
The couple wired money as directed, but the scammers said that wasn’t enough and again threatened them with deportation, so they wired more money. The scammers were in Singapore and spoke the couple’s native language, Mandarin. “This elaborate fraud preys on the victim’s vulnerabilities to devastating effect,” said Major Travess Forbush. “We cannot emphasize enough that the police will never contact you and ask for money instead of being arrested or deportation.”
This is the second fraud case like this in the region. The other case involves a $750,000 loss to theft.
Tell friends, loved ones, and neighbors to always hang up on callers claiming to be government officials asking for money. Also, delete all similar emails or emails saying you’ll receive money by sending your personal information. If you think there’s a chance something might be legitimate, call your local authorities or agency and verify it before ever sending any money or gift cards.