Pennsylvania couple loses over $30,000 to scammers pretending to be their child

Ultimately, the couple turned over roughly $34,000 to the scammers via so-called couriers who came right to their home.

ByLeland Pinder WPVI logo
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Bucks County couple loses over $30,000 to scammers pretending to be their child
Bucks County couple loses over $30,000 to scammers pretending to be their child

WARWICK TWP., Pennsylvania -- Police in Bucks County are investigating after a couple was robbed of over $30,000 by scammers.

It happened Saturday at a home in the Hidden Ponds neighborhood of Warwick Township, Pennsylvania.

The husband and wife spoke with ABC Philadelphia affiliate WPVI, describing what happened, but asked not to be identified.

They say their goal is to potentially save someone else from becoming a victim.

"We never thought this could happen to us. We know better, we know better, we know better," the woman said. "If we can save anyone from going through this, that's why we decided to do this."

The incident began with a frantic phone call from a sobbing woman claiming to be the couple's daughter.

Officials say scammers are getting more sophisticated and manipulative.

"We're parents, we know our child, we know the sound of her voice, we know her voice patterns, and we know her cry, and I swear to you that sobbing sounded just like my child," the woman said.

The couple was then told by a person claiming to be a police officer that their adult daughter had been arrested for a violent crash involving their son-in-law and grandkids. The scammer said the crash ended up killing a pregnant woman's baby in the other vehicle. The scammers told the couple their daughters phone had been confiscated as evidence so they could not call her. The couple was also told their daughter did not want them to contact other family members as she wanted to do that herself, later.

The couple says a second call came soon after, from a so-called "court-appointed attorney."

The "attorney" said thousands of dollars would be needed to bail their daughter out of jail.

Ultimately, the couple turned over roughly $34,000 to the scammers via so-called couriers who came right to their home, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The couple handed over around $17,000 each time.

"I can't even begin to explain how devastating and excruciating this is," the woman said.

She said soon after they'd handed over the money, they got a call from their son-in-law and knew they'd been scammed. That's when they called the police.

Police are now asking residents of the Hidden Pond, Warwick Estates, and Robinson Farms neighborhoods to check surveillance video on the following dates and look for the listed vehicles:

  1. April 6, 2024, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.: An older model red Nissan Rogue or Murano
  2. April 6, 2024, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: A black Kia Sportage

Police are looking to track down the two vehicles and the people inside who may have been the fake couriers.

Playing on fear and emotions, police say this happens way too often.

"Some of our most vulnerable people are being victimized on a regular basis," said Warwick Township Police Chief Mark Goldberg.

"We are a small town. We see it if not weekly, monthly, where some member of our community has lost thousands of dollars as they're victimized in one of these scams," he said.

The department says it is constantly trying to educate and inform people about these bad actors.

"If they're informed and have information and they understand the specific scenario, because this specific scenario has happened here before, so they can recognize it for what it is and know that it's a scam," Goldberg said.

The police chief hopes this encourages residents to be more cautious and able to recognize when someone might be trying to rip them off.

"You have to be suspicious. It's unfortunate but that's our world. You have to be suspicious. You have to be vigilant and you really have to look out for yourself," Goldberg said.

Usually, in these cases, victims are out of luck in finding the scammers or recovering their money. However, Goldberg said they are working on some surprising and unexpected leads in this case.

Anyone who has information or saw a suspicious car or person in Hidden Ponds on Saturday, April 6, is asked to contact the police.