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‘The story is wild:’ Ky. man losing thousands in suspected romance scam, state officials investigating

A Pulaski County man is in the middle of a scam and it’s reportedly costing him thousands.
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:25 PM EST
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SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - A Pulaski County man is in the middle of a scam and it’s reportedly costing him thousands.

The attorney general’s office confirmed it’s investigating claims that an elderly man in Somerset is giving away thousands of dollars to someone he believes he is in a romantic relationship with.

“At first it was just talking about investing in some sort of deal with a car. It was some sort of Mercedes. The story is wild,” said Tashauna Whitaker, the victim’s daughter.

Whitaker said a woman, who said her name was “Debbie,” calls her father for hours day after day. She said the con started with car payments, and escalated to a romance scam.

“He said he was sending money to get something in return or to get a woman to come live with him and they’re going to be together,” Whitaker said.

She said her father sends out thousands of dollars in cash. She said she’s called everyone from the FBI to the police.

“Phone calls aren’t working,” Whitaker said.

Those types of phone calls from people like Whitaker come in to the Better Business Bureau frequently.

“If you see or talk with someone that you know who suddenly talks about receiving calls or messages from someone you’ve never heard of before, talking serious romance, mentioning money, traveling to see you, but you’ve never laid eyes on them, those are some major red flags,” said Heather Clary, the director of communications for BBB Central and Eastern Kentucky.

Clary said it’s important to have kind and direct conversations with the victims of romance scams.

“It’s just a matter of keeping in touch with those elderly relatives, listen to them, try to speak with them reasonably about, why does this feel real? Present some facts,” Clary said.

Whitaker said she’s worried about her dad’s future if nobody intervenes. She’s trying to get a conservatorship over her father.

“This is a man that was very tight with money, saved every penny he had,” Whitaker said. “Family man, so if anybody out there believes it can’t happen to your family, it very well can.”

You can report a romance scam to the Better Business Bureau by heading to their scam tracker page.

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