Scam Buster: Scammers Impersonating Political Officials


It’s election season, and scammers see that as another opportunity to con you out of money. We’re seeing scammers impersonating political officials now and talked to one woman who contacted us when she got suspicious.

Marion Smythe thought she was making a new friend on Facebook. But someone she thought she knew turned out to be a scammer, telling her about a federal grant she could get for just $1,000.

“I said, he must think I’m real stupid!”

He started asking personal questions about her income, retirement savings, even her phone number and address.

“On the address, what I did was I reversed the numbers when I gave it to him cause this just doesn’t sound right,” says Smythe.

Eventually, the scammers gave up when she asked too many questions.

But what makes this really interesting is *who* these scammers were pretending to be.

jimmie gardner

Jimmie Gardner is Prichard’s former police chief and also a candidate for mayor.

“I mean it is possible they know they are with a local government. Whoever they decide to take over, they’re going to do research on them,” says Detective Laura Soulier with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.

Evidently, this has happened to Jimmie Gardner more than once.

“Each and every time, certainly you feel like you’re violated. Almost as if someone broke into your home and got into your personal things,” says Gardner.

And he’s not the only victim here. One woman showed up at Gardner’s door, demanding her money back.

“And I asked her did we have business? She said yes. I said what is our business? She said I want my $800. I said, your $800? She said yes, you sent me to this person and they got my $800 and I want it back,” says Gardner.

Gardner told her it was a scammer, not him, who had her money. Meanwhile, Smythe hopes there are no other victims.

“But that is wrong, I want people to realize this is wrong,” says Smythe.

Beware of people asking you to be friends if you’re already friends with that person. You can report a fake page to facebook and then block that person.

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