Scammers posing as law enforcement in Madera County

FRESNO, Calif.

Sheriff John Anderson has a large file dedicated to all the scammers who try to con people in Madera County. But he's now investigating a whole new scam in the area which nearly cost an elderly woman her money and potentially her safety.

Sheriff John Anderson said, "In this one they even offered to come out and said we'll send somebody to go to the bank with you if you're afraid to go and get the money."

Investigators say what's really scary about these suspects is they're posing as police and even offering to visit their victims homes.

Detectives say at about 9:00 on Tuesday morning, an 85-year-old woman got a call from a person who told her she won a large sweepstakes. But to cash it in, she needed to wire some money and the caller even volunteered to send out an officer to escort her to the bank.

Sheriff Anderson explained, "If they are offering such a deal which is so great it's probably a scam or if you have to give them something first, it's probably a scam."

The terrified victim called deputies who quickly responded. The Better Business Bureau calls these suspects "runners" because they may show up at your doorstep.

Cindy Dudley with the Better Business Bureau said, "When there's a runner involved a senior citizen is a target."

Experts say runners specifically target the elderly because they're vulnerable and often have a large nest-egg saved up.

Never give out any of your personal information, and if you suspect something fishy, it probably is.

"They just get smarter and smarter," added Dudley. "The sweepstakes scams are actually very old."

Experts say a big red flag to always watch out for is if you never registered for the lottery or for a sweepstakes, you're not going to win one. So if someone does call claiming you did, call your local agency.

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