What seemed to be a winning idea instead caused a 71-year-old man to be tricked by two Spanish-speaking women into giving them $3,000 in cash and jewelry, police said.
The Colma resident was walking on the 7400 block of Mission Street in Daly City recently when a Hispanic woman asked him for directions in Spanish, police said. A second Hispanic woman then approached them and became involved in the conversation.
Police said the first woman claimed she was from Ecuador and had just won the California Lottery, but couldn’t claim her winnings because she was an illegal immigrant. The second woman offered to help and pretended to call the California Lottery office. She then said she had to put $39,000 up front to claim the winnings.
According to Colma Police Department Detective Cecilia Garay, both women showed the man a lot of money, convincing him to contribute his cash so all three could split the winnings.
The second woman said she had a car in the area and they all drove to the victim’s home, where he collected $3,000 in cash and jewelry. The women drove the victim toward El Camino Real, where one of them pretended to be feeling ill. They stopped at a local drugstore, where the victim went inside to buy some medicine. When he came out of the store, the women had disappeared, police said.
Garay said such scams are common and they often target immigrants and the elderly.
“Spanish speakers try to approach someone if they are elderly or use the fact that they speak Spanish as a trust thing,” she said. “The person tries to help them out because they speak Spanish.”
She said the two suspects may strike again somewhere else in the Bay Area. The first woman is described as 5 feet tall, weighing 150 pounds, with a light complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. The second suspect is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds, approximately 35 to 40 years old.
Anyone with information may call Garay at (650) 997-8340 or the anonymous tip line at (650) 997-8337.