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San Mateo Co. Sheriff Warns Of Lottery Scam Targeting Elderly

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SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) — The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be aware of a scam targeting the elderly after a woman in her 70s was taken for a ride, both literally and metaphorically speaking.

The woman was returning to her vehicle on Thursday after shopping at a Trader Joe’s market in San Carlos when she was approached by two Hispanic men.

The men—one who was 60 to 70 years old, and the other who was in his early 20s—offered to give her a cut in some lottery ticket winnings provided that she give them some money up front.

She was hesitant but was coerced into the suspects’ vehicle and was driven to her Redwood City home, where she retrieved what authorities said was “a large amount of cash” that she then gave to the men.

The suspects dropped her off at the corner of El Camino Real and Madison Avenue in Redwood City and drove away, and the woman contacted her daughter and explained what had happened.

The men were riding in a white full-size newer model van with a sliding door and wrap-around windows, according to the sheriff’s office. At about 5 feet 6 inches tall, the older suspect, who also wears glasses, is shorter and stockier than the younger suspect, who is about 6 feet 2 inches and has short black hair.

The sheriff’s office said that people should be wary if elderly family members are approached by one or more strangers in a public place. Often, the strangers offer some sort of monetary gain to the victims in exchange for money provided up front.

Those who witness such a crime are asked to contact sheriff’s Detective Saul Lopez at (650) 363-4347 or the office’s anonymous tip line at (800) 547-2700.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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