Minnesota family warning others after elderly relative scammed into shipping $25K

A Minnesota woman is warning others after her elderly relative was scammed into shipping thousands of dollars to another state.

Sharon Bergeron said her relative was scammed into shipping $25,000 cash via FedEx to an address in Norwalk, Connecticut that proved to be a vacant home.

It was all part of an elaborate scheme she now wants to warn others about.

“Who can you trust? How can people be like this? How can they live with themselves?” Sharon asked.

Sharon’s loved one had taken what seemed like an urgent call they thought was from their own adult child. The caller even knew names. They said there was a car crash, injuries and a fight that landed their loved one in jail and that they needed money for bail and an attorney.

Over the course of two days, the family member withdrew thousands of dollars in cash and shipped it off in two separate packages. Fortunately for them, the family realized what was going on, alerted authorities and had the shipments returned safely to Minnesota.

“I figured I need to do what I can to put this out there, share this story so that other people can talk to their loved ones.”

During the subsequent police investigation, Sharon would soon learn there was actually a second metro area elderly victim, who fell for a very similar scheme. This person was from Woodbury and sent the money to that same exact Connecticut address. In that case, more than $17,000 cash was lost.

“These scammers will go to great lengths to do two things: try to steal your identity and take your money. So you have to be smart,” said Bao Vang, Communications Director of BBB of Minnesota & North Dakota.

The BBB tracks scams including these targeting vulnerable, well-meaning seniors who may be particularly susceptible at the moment, given COVID-19 isolation.

The bureau advises people to keep in close contact with elderly loved ones right now and to discuss potential red flags that may emerge in email, phone call and text message schemes. Sharon also advises that families have a password or code word to use in the event of an emergency.

For more information on scams and how to report them, click here.