BILLERICA — Chief Daniel Rosa reports that the Billerica Police Department has partnered with local businesses to help prevent fraud involving wire transfers.
Police have received multiple reports of residents being scammed into wiring money through Western Union, MoneyGram, Green Dot and more. Some of the scenarios the department has seen recently include:
• An individual lost $3,340 after he was contacted by an alleged representative from the IRS and told he owed past tax money. If he did not pay it, the IRS “agent” said he would be subject to arrest/criminal charges.
• A man was contacted by a person claiming to be from a computer support company, “Superior Tech Help,” who told him they owed him $400, but accidentally credited him $4,000. The caller told the victim to wire two separate transactions totaling $3,600 to recipients in China.
• One resident lost $1,800 after receiving a call from someone pretending to be the person’s grandson who said he was in police custody out of state and needed bail money.
• A citizen lost $1,790 after being contacted by a person claiming to be a public defender who stated the person’s grandson was involved in a serious car crash where he was arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Liquor and needed bail money.
• An individual lost over $2,000 after he receieved an unsolicited package containing a check for $2,485.50, along with a survey. The package contained instructions to complete the survey and then wire three separate money orders to various recipients. The victim was told he should keep a portion of the money as compensation for taking the survey.
“It is extremely upsetting for residents, especially our older generation, when they learn they’re a victim of a scam and their money is lost and gone forever,” Chief Rosa said. “Please remember that the police or IRS will never ask you for a wire transfer or call you threatening an arrest.”
To help prevent similar instances from reoccurring, police have partnered with Rite Aid, K-Mart, CVS, Walgreens and 7-Eleven to place scam alert flyers near their wiring services.
The flyer urges customers to take a moment to consider their transaction and to confirm they are not being scammed by contacting police.
Additionally, with the assistance of the printing department of the Shawsheen Regional Technical High School, police have created scam alert advisory sheets to provide to customers when completing a money wire transaction at their partner stores.