BUNNELL, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of the newest fraud targeting senior citizens.
Victims report being approached by two suspects in a parking lot. The first suspect initiates a conversation with the victim but is quickly interrupted by a second suspect who claims to have just found a large sum of money.
From there, the suspects work to convince the victim that if they "buy-in" with enough cash, the found money will be split three ways.
The victim hands over an agreed amount of cash and the suspects then make an excuse to either go inside of a store to divide the money three ways or confirm that the buy-in is large enough by bringing it to their "boss."
The victim then waits for the suspects to return, but they never do.
In one case reported in April, a 78-year-old woman handed over $8,000 cash to the suspects in a Wal-Mart parking lot after being promised a three-way cut of $68,000 found in a wallet.
In June, a similar incident occurred in the Publix parking lot at 4950 Belle Terre Pkwy in Palm Coast. The male told the victim he had found a wallet with $68,000 and that if she would give him some cash, he would cut her in on splitting the money. She provided the suspect with $320 and never saw the suspects again.
The most recent incident occurred on Aug. 23 in the parking lot of TJ Maxx on State Road 100 and followed the same scam. In this instance, the victim did not provide any cash to the suspects.
"It is a sad reality but there are people out there who are constantly dreaming up new ways to scam seniors," Sheriff Rick Staly said. "You work hard for your money; don't be a victim. If anyone approaches you in a parking lot that you do not know claiming to have found cash, suggest that they call the Sheriff's Office and if they won't then you should. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
In each case the suspects have been described as a black female, standing 5 feet 5 inches tall between 50 to 60 years old and a black male standing 5 feet 6 inches tall in his mid-60s.
If you have any information, please contact the FCSO at 386-313-4911 or email TIPS@FlaglerSheriff.com. Or call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS.
For more information on crimes against seniors, visit https://agesafeamerica.com/crime-prevention/.