Lower Macungie Man Avoids Expensive Scam

Caller wanted resident to buy $1,000 gift card to help him get a relative back to Pennsylvania, police say.

A Lower Macungie Township man deserves credit for sniffing out a variation of a scam and not falling for it.

His reward?

He gets to keep the $1,000 he would have otherwise been conned into giving a crook.

The rest of us benefit, too. We get to hear the new sales pitch and learn to avoid it.

Edward Konmath, 75, of 7460 Catalpa Drive told that he received a call at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday from a man claiming to be a relative. The man went on to say that he was in Florida and his wallet was stolen.

You can guess what came next.

The caller, of course, asked for $1,000 from Konmath so he could return home, police said. The caller said he could obtain access to the money if Konmath would purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak gift card from Wal-Mart. The "relative" would call back in 30 minutes to get that card's number, which he could provide to redeem the money from the gift card.

Konmath wasn't having any of it and reported the incident to police. He could not identify the caller, so there is little chance the man will be caught. The report was being handled as an attempted theft.

However, the attempted con serves as a reminder of this type of scam, which often preys on the elderly. Variations often include stories from con artists that a person has a young relative in a foreign country who has taken ill, been in an auto accident or is in trouble with police. In all instances, they need a sizable amount of money immediately to help pay for bills or fines so that they will be able to return to the United States. The suggested payment method often is to wire money via Western Union, but several methods will work -- including the Green Dot MoneyPak gift card.

slyfox July 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Edward Konmath is one smart cookie. More people should be aware of thieves wanting something for nothing. Good for him!


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