Scam artists target elderly in Williamsburg

Posted at 8:27 PM, May 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-23 20:27:31-04

Virginia Stellato and Agape Home Health nurse Jackie Hawkins have become like family over the years.

"She's like my grandmother," said Hawkins.  "I love her to death so I just want them to stop."

By them, she means money hungry scam artists who have called Stellato and a handful more of her elderly clients in the Kings Mill neighborhood of Williamsburg.

"They'll just keep coming back and coming back," Stellato said of the phone calls.  "They want $500 and then they will say this is just the down payment."

"[They say] their grandson's in jail or they won the lottery," Hawkins said.

Stellato hasn't been swindled, partly because Hawkins takes action and tells the scammers where to go with their lies.  She described the last time they called.

"His tone was, 'I need to speak to Virginia Stellato now!' So I had to take a breather. Think twice and ask him to stop calling," Hawkins said.

Hawkins said she contacted NewsChannel 3 about the calls after seeing the efforts the news station has made to expose scam artists over the last few years.

They almost always have that accent and call from blocked or foreign numbers.

The best defenses: Don't pick up  and don't send them any money.

"They just keep on and on and on thinking that they'll wear you out sooner or later," Stellato said.

They haven't worn her down, and with Hawkins at her side they likely never will.

"For those who don't have a "me" or [NewsChannel 3] to stick up for them, this will maybe give them a guide for what to do if this happens to them."