News

UPDATE: Police identify woman giving dead baby sob story

Kind-hearted Gwen McKenzie has been scammed by a woman who lied about the death of her baby.
Kind-hearted Gwen McKenzie has been scammed by a woman who lied about the death of her baby. Valerie Horton

UPDATE: Police say they have identified the woman believed to be scamming people in Maryborough out of their money by telling them her baby has died.

No charges have yet been laid but Senior Constable Melanie Ryan said police were asking people who had been approached by this woman to come forward as they could only take action if official complaints were made.

People posted to the Chronicle's Facebook page on Friday to share their stories of being approached by the woman.

Some gave the woman money while others refused.

A few Maryborough residents were told by the woman that she had recently lost a child, while she told others that she couldn't afford medication for her child.

Snr Const Ryan said the officer involved in the case would decide the charges the woman might face but it was possible that woman could be charged with fraud in coming days.

EARLIER: Gwen McKenzie has fallen victim to a scam after she was approached at her home by a young woman who claimed she needed money because her baby girl had died.

The kind-hearted Maryborough woman contacted police, who said they were aware of the scam but were unable to do anything because Gwen had given money, totalling $240, to the woman of her own free will.

The woman took money from Gwen twice, the first time telling her she needed money to get to Brisbane after the death of her baby daughter.

Moved by the woman's story, Gwen gave her $100.

Gwen said the way the woman had described her daughter's death was very convincing.

"She was crying - all worked up," Gwen said.

"She deserves an Oscar for that performance."

The second time, Gwen gave the woman a lift to pick her son up from school and then took her back to her home. 

The woman asked for more money and Gwen gave her $140.

Then Gwen was informed by others living near her that they had been approached by the same woman and that her story was a lie.

Maryborough Police Patrol Group Inspector Paul Biggin said police had heard of the despicable scam and urged residents in the Maryborough area to be especially vigilant when it came to donating money.

He said the woman had been door-knocking throughout the area, targeting elderly residents and telling them that her daughter had died.

The same woman had told residents that her car was broken down in an effort to get money previously, according to police, who are concerned the woman will continue to attempt to scam people with further "sob stories".

Insp Biggin urged anyone who may have been approached to come forward and report the matter.

Gwen said it was wrong for others to prey on someone who was kind and just trying to do the right thing.

"I believed everything she said," Gwen said.

"It's a lesson for me. I have to wake up to people like her."

Gwen said because the woman knew where she lived she no longer felt safe in her own home and feared the woman would return.

Gwen described the woman as being extremely thin and of average height with long, dark hair.

Caught out?

  • If you or someone you know may have been scammed, visit http://www.scamwatch.gov.au alternatively contact Crime Stoppers or your local police station.

Topics:  con artist, editors picks, maryborough, mother, mum, scam, story



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