Elderly woman loses life savings to scam artists

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Police search for suspect who scammed elderly woman By Tami Hoey Police search for suspect who scammed elderly woman By Tami Hoey

SCOTTSDALE -- Scottsdale police are searching for two suspects whom they say scammed an elderly woman out of her life savings.

On Nov. 7, a black female and a black male confronted the victim in the parking lot of the Fry’s store at 76th Street and Indian School. The victim did not know that the two suspects were working together.

Police say the pair likely targeted the victim because she is elderly.

The suspects used what police call a “Pigeon Drop” scheme,  a scam in which a victim, or a "pigeon", is convinced to give up a sum of money in order to secure the rights to a larger sum of money..

The female suspect claimed she found a wallet containing $10,000 cash that she would "split " with the victim and the other suspect, if they would  put up some money. The woman said they would get their money back, plus a portion of the alleged $10,000.

As a way to convince the elderly woman it was legit, the male suspect pretended to give the female suspect some money.

So, the victim went to the bank, withdrew her life savings of $18,000, and gave it to the female suspect.

The suspects left with the woman's money, and she waited for them in the parking lot.  But the pair never returned.

Detectives say they've now exhausted all leads in the case. They have released a photo of the female suspect,  and are asking if anyone can identify her to please call the Scottsdale Police Department at 480-312-5000 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Law enforcement officials are offering up some tips to protect others from this  type of scheme. They say only trust people you know, and never trust someone just because they have a  friendly voice or appear to be an authoritative figure. Swindlers usually are friendly and have honest faces and pleasant personalities. That's how they gain your trust  and steal your money.

You're also advised to talk to a law enforcement officer or your banker before withdrawing large sums of money at someone else's suggestion.