Ellisville police are in the process of creating a program to educate especially elderly residents about various scams being targeted toward them.
The program development is the result of an 88-year-old woman living in a retirement center in the city losing more than $60,000 through the so-called Jamaica lottery scam.
Police Chief Tom Felgate said his department and the St. Louis Postal Inspector's office are investigating an 876 (the Jamaica area code) scam that took place when the woman got a phone call sometime in October announcing she had won a Mega Million Sweepstakes Lottery, providing her with $5.5 million and a car.
The phone call was followed up by a fax with bogus lottery winning documents, also indicating the win would be in the form of a certified cashier's check along with $95,000 in cash courtesy of General Motors Corporation, he said.
"But the scam was that the winner first had to pay $87,000 in taxes, and the victim's son told police more than $60,000 had been transferred to the suspects by Western Union wire transfer and by other means," Felgate said.
Though she went to police last month, no suspects have been identified or arrests made, he said.
"Many folks including senior citizens continue to be victimized, though these scams have been publicized by the media," he said.
The two officers who took the report have put together a Power Point presentation and contacted retirement centers to alert the elderly. The department plans to hold a program this spring for the general public at the park administration center, Felgate said.
Anyone receiving such an announcement of lottery winnings should first contact a relative, police and/or the postal inspectors, he said.
"And under no circumstances send money," Felgate said.