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Beware – Scammers are in town
By Harvey Cappel
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By Harvey Cappel PE

The Post Newspaper Contributing Writer

As many of you (my friends) know I lost my wife of 64.5 years last December 16, 2022. A story in itself; an unbelievable loss to me, our kin and many of our friends. Thanks to all that have tried to help me get thru this very difficult time. 

And now the related scam story. I am being scammed by a well-known scam family. They got their scamming information from my wife’s obituary. 

On Friday March 3, 2023 I was approached in Kroger’s in Texas City by a lady of about 50 years old. She said she recognized me from her work at Mainland Hospital helping to care for my wife while she was there. I didn’t recognize her but gave her the benefit of doubt that she may have been there. After all she knew about Betty being there. She offered to help me, with talk, to get thru my grief. She said she too had recently lost her spouse to cancer. I fell for the story and was enjoying the opportunity to socialize with such a nice lady. 

We had lunch the next day in Texas City after which I walked her to her car to see a late model Mercedes with a woman sitting inside. She said it was her sister.    

Next day we had lunch at Olive Garden with, unknown to me, my doubting daughter spying on us from Gringo’s parking lot. I asked the lady about her sister and she said she dropped her off at the gym. It was the first lie we caught her in because my daughter said the sister never left the car.  

After the lunch, my daughter went to Mainland Hospital with the lady’s name and a photo from Facebook. No one on the floor, where my wife was, had ever seen or heard of her. I went the next morning to the hospital’s Administration Office to find again they never heard of her. Lie number two, the really big one.  

My daughter and I traced her car to another owner with a different name and to an address with yet another name but with the same last names, but not hers.  

With my daughter’s help, we connected the last names with a known family of scammers. Recent scams are the “wobble wheel scam” for which three of them were arrested in Galveston and another in Houston where they scammed a 68-year-old out of $260,000.  One involved in this case was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison. 

Best take some notes here and be prepared if you are connected to a newspaper obituary, as I believe that’s their starting point. 

Forget the police; they were not interested. At first, I was really disappointed in how little help I got from the police until I realized that scammers don’t break any laws. Basically, they said, “stay away from them and come back when they do something illegal.” 

So, pay attention and don’t ‘trust anyone you don’t’ know.  Helps too, to have a tough and doubting daughter. Love her. 

Thank you so much for helping our community to encourage us to verify strangers. Stranger Danger is appropriate at all ages.
Posted by Roberta at 4/8/2023 11:18:10 AM

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