By JOSH FRIEDMAN
An 88-year-old Templeton man is believed to have lost approximately $700,000 in a phone scam over the last few months, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.
On Oct. 31, a local bank contacted the sheriff’s office to report that the elderly man had been withdrawing large sums of money in the form of wire transfers, cashier’s checks and personal checks over the past few months. He was sending the money to various people, the bank told sheriff’s officials.
A deputy contacted the elderly man. The man said he had been told he won a $3.5 million prize, as well as two Mercedes-Benz cars, and he was told to withdraw the money from his bank account to pay the taxes on the prizes.
The victim had also been coached on what to say to the bank in an attempt to limit suspicion. He was told to say the money being withdrawn was repayment of a loan from a person he had known for many years.
Investigators believe the 88-year-old man was trying to send more money, in addition to the approximately $700,000 he is believed to have sent over the past few months.
Authorities contacted the Secret Service, and holds have been placed on some of the bank accounts to which the elderly man sent the money. An investigation into the scam is ongoing.
Sheriff’s officials are reminding residents it is currently the time of year when these types of phone scams pop up in the United States. Anyone who receives a similar call should report it to law enforcement.