SLO County man thought he won $3.5 million, 2 cars — then he was scammed out of $700,000

An elderly Templeton man was conned out of $700,000 as part of an apparent phone scam, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to a Tuesday news release, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a local bank on Oct. 31 regarding a possible phone scam involving an 88-year-old man in Templeton.

The bank reported the elderly victim had been withdrawing large sums of money in the form of wire transfers, cashier’s checks and personal checks over the past few months and sending the money to various people.

A sheriff’s deputy contacted the man, who said he had been told that he had won a $3.5 million prize as well as two Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The man said he was told to withdraw the money from his bank account to pay the taxes on those prizes.

He had also been cautioned not to tell anyone about the prizes, and had been coached on what to say to the bank to try and limit suspicion, according to the release.

The man was told to say the money was repayment for a loan from a person he had known for many years.

According to the news release, the man sent approximately $700,000 over the past few months and was in the process of trying to send more.

The U.S. Secret Service was contacted and holds placed on some of the bank accounts where the money was sent, according to the release. The investigation is ongoing.

The Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents this is the time of year when these types of phone scams show up in our county, according to the release. Anyone who receives a call like this should report it to their local law enforcement agency.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.