Jamaican Phone Scam Targeting Seniors 

There’s a major phone scam that’s bilking seniors out of hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. It’s so severe, even Senator Susan Collins is trying to do something about it. Here’s something you never want to hear. ” My dad ended up losing over $80,000.”Kim Nichols is from Hermon, her 77-year-old dad lives in New Hampshire, and he’s been scammed, big time. ” They said he won a car and a large amount of money, but he needed to pay a $500 processing fee,” explained Nichols. Her dad isn’t the only one who is a victim. ” The typical victim has lost around $60,000,” said Major Bill King with the York County Sheriff’s Department. It’s a Jamaican phone scam and it’s very complex. ” It is difficult for me to think of one that is more cruel, more sophisticated, and more persistent than the Jamaican phone scam,” said Senator Susan Collins.The phone calls from this particular scam all come from area code “876” .” I knew there was something going on, but nothing like this. This is something,” said Jim Thomas, a member of the Hammond Street Senior Center, where Friday’s seminar on the scam was held. For members of the Hammond Street Senior Center in Bangor, it’s important they know about these scams. It doesn’t surprise some of them that people are targeting their age group.” They pick on the old folks because they think they can talk us into giving them our money,” said Thomas. Authorities are trying to warn seniors about the scam. There’s even a website filled with information, but it’s hard to stop the scam, because the scammers are smart. ” Sometimes the scammers will pose as clergymen and they’ll pray with our victims,” said Major King. ” They believe the criminal is truly their friend and I think that makes this scam even sadder,” added Senator Collins. Some of the victims are losing hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. ” It’s a lot of money for a senior to lose because they don’t have a chance to go and earn it back,” said Ella Thomas, a member of the Hammond Street Senior Center. ” That’s the hard part, if you lose a bunch, it’s gone,” added Jim Thomas. If you get a call from an “876” area code, authorities say, hang up. ” I would go even further than that and say you shouldn’t answer it at all,” said Senator Collins. For Kim Nichols’ dad, it’s too late to hang up or not answer, but she hopes sharing his story will prevent other people from being scammed. According to Major King, Stephen King has provided a grant for a public service announcement to be produced about the Jamaican phone scam. We’re told the PSA is still in production. For more information and tips on how to avoid being scammed, click here.