Scam Artists Prey on the Elderly

July 23, 2003 - Posted at: 11:59 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark.-- They come in the form of roofers and gutter installers, but they're actually scam artists. The latest scam happened in Jonesboro last week.

Dale May's mother is ninety-one years old. "She's probably in the second stage of Alzheimer's," said May. "Which renders you not to remember things and you're not alert and you can get taken advantage of real easily."

A group of scam artists knocked on May's mother's door last week.

"She invited them in and they said your roof needs to be repaired and she said okay, let's get it fixed," said May. "So they went outside and stood around for a while and came back in and said we would like to get paid."

May's mother is blind, and she asked the roofers to fill out the check. The phony roofers then helped May's mother sign the check.

"(The check was) for about 15-hundred dollars and they immediately took the check to the bank and cashed it without doing any of the work they said they were going to do," said Jonesboro Police Detective Randy Yancy.

Five days later, another group of scam artists came knocking on May's mother's door saying she needed new gutters.

"She wrote them a check for a thousand dollars," said Detective Yancy. "When they took it to the bank to cash, the bank got a hold of the last check that was written and they put a freeze on the account."

The hold on the account stopped the suspects from stealing anymore of May's mother's money. May then decided to file a police report.

"We believe the suspects are from out of state," said Detective Yancy. "The bank did give a description of the vehicle, saying it was a tan car possibly a Saturn four-door."

The Jonesboro Police Department believe others also have been scanned.

"If there is anybody in the community that this has happened to recently, give us a call and maybe we can get some information on this," said Detective Yancy. "It will help our investigation."

Those who have been scammed or know any information on the scam should contact the Jonesboro Police Department at (870) 935-5553. They should also contact the State Attorney General's Office at 1-800-482-8982.

Dale May says his mothers money can not be recovered, but other people can now be aware of the scam in the future.