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Elderly Westmoreland woman scammed out of $58K

Renatta Signorini
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An elderly Westmoreland County woman was scammed out of $58,000 that she handed over to a person she knew only as “Dave” earlier this month in Hempfield Township, according to state police.

Troopers said the suspect identified himself as a Publishers Clearing House executive when he contacted the 88-year-old woman on Dec. 5. “Dave” asked the woman to keep his involvement a secret, according to a news release.

The suspect requested personal information from the victim and directed her to open up numerous accounts at different banks and transfer money from her account into them, police said. “Dave” also directed her to buy $16,000 in OneVanilla Visa prepaid cards and Amazon gift cards.

Police said the pair met at a Sunoco gas station on Humphrey Road in Hempfield at 10 p.m. Jan. 3 and exchanged $13,000 in cards, along with $45,000 in cash that authorities said was inside a shoe box.

The suspect is described as a black man who was driving a tan car.

Publishers Clearing House has a list of warning signs that consumers should consult to determine if they are being victimized by a scammer.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta.