Sheriff’s officials are warning residents to be cautious of scammers as they work to identify the man who attempted to scam an 81-year-old Greenbrier woman out of $17,000.
The suspect drove to the 81-year-old woman’s residence on Feb. 7 and sprayed chemicals on her driveway, claiming he knew her late husband and “was hired to fix her driveway,” according to an incident report. After spraying the chemicals at the residence along Highway 65, the suspect told the woman to write him a check for $17,000 and to ride with him to the bank so he could cash it.
According to the report, the woman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, went with the suspect to Simmons Bank in Conway.
The woman’s 59-year-old son reported the incident to police after he received an alert from bank representatives. The Greenbrier man recently became power of attorney over his mother and her financial accounts.
Bank employees informed the Greenbrier man that his mother stopped by the bank with a man attempting to cash a $17,000 check. Employees refused to cash the check because the suspect would not take off the baseball cap and sunglasses he was wearing, the report states.
After the bank refused to cash the check, the suspect reportedly had the woman fill out a second check for him before taking her back home.
Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Erinn Stone said authorities are actively investigating this case and working to identify the suspect.
Authorities have since warned residents to be cautious of anyone who asks for a payment for services that were not requested.
“[This] could have been an extremely dangerous situation,” Stone said. “Anytime someone comes to your home, always ask for ID, or call their company (if they give a company name). If you do not recognize the person or the company, do not let them in, don’t even open the door and immediately contact your local law enforcement so a report can be taken and a paper trail can be started.”
Scammers will also attempt to swindle individuals over the phone by posing as IRS representatives or a law enforcement agency seeking warrant payments, among other scams.
“Be cautious of scams, if you do not know the number don’t answer the phone. If the call is important, they will leave a message,” Stone said.
Residents who feel they may be a victim of a scam or who have questions on suspicious behaviors are asked to contact police.
“If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call your local law enforcement,” Stone said. “Remember, if it is too good to be true, it may be.”
According to the report, the woman’s son was able to freeze her accounts “to prevent any other fraud.”
Stone confirmed that neither of the checks was cashed in the attempted scam.