LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A scam alert on Facebook nets thousands of shares and hundreds of comments. The owner of an Acadiana restaurant admits she fell for it and apparently others have too. Katie Frith says she owns El Camino Mexican Restaurant in Abbeville.
Frith posted on Facebook that her giving “heart was scammed.” She says a woman came into the restaurant claiming her mother was dying. Frith posted that the woman then asked to use the phone and to make a call to get money from family for food. Jamie Colley works at the restaurant. Colley says the woman gave a sad story. “Out of the kindness of her heart they decided to give her money,” adds Colley.
On Facebook, Frith writes that she gave the woman $20. A customer she says later claimed she gave the same woman $50 at her place of business the other day. “The ah moment came when everyone started to come forward,” says Colley.
Police and sheriff’s deputies says there’s nothing they can do or even investigative without a filed complaint. Teresa Decuire says sh works at El Camino. “We all have parents and grandparents; someone who might be ill in our family. So, it kind of hits home,” notes Decuire.
Frith is asking people if they’ve been scammed, to report it. Frith notes that reporting it helps to keep others from being taken. Decuire agrees saying don’t let one person ruin the hearts of many. “If you have good intentions and a good heart stay with that,” adds Decuire
Vermilion Parish Sheriff Mike Couvillon says the scam could be taking place in other parishes. If you’ve been victimized, file a report with law enforcement. Couvillon says that helps to begin an investigation with charges filed.
Vermilion Parish Sheriff press release:
According to Sheriff Couvillon, a few complaints have been posted on Facebook describing what appears to be a scam, where a white female subject thought to be in her 60’s enters local businesses and begins to tell a sad story about her mother being very ill and/or on her death bed and how she left her home so suddenly that she forgot her purse, wallet and cell phone.
She proceeds to ask to use your cell phone to call for help because she needs money for fuel. She uses your cell phone to dial a number and says that she cannot get in touch with anyone for help. She seems to be very distraught and asks for money to put fuel in her car because she needs to get to her dying mother in Texas, Houma, Gueydan or some other place.
If you are approached with this type scam, do NOT give any money. Take a picture of this person with your cell phone and get a license plate number if possible (if safe) or a description of her car and call law enforcement.
We do not believe this woman to be dangerous at this time, but according to the multiple incidents described by different people, she may have victimized many people so far.
“We have instructed and continue to urge all those who have been victimized by this scam to file a report with their law enforcement agency (police department or Sheriff) so this scam can be investigated properly with charges filed in order to hold this person accountable.” says the Sheriff.