Thomas Perkins, Chief of Police
1 Friend Court
PO Box 536
Wenham, MA 01984
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Wenham Police Alert Residents to Phone Scammer Pretending to be Wenham Police Officer
Massachusetts Woman Conned Out of $4,000
WENHAM — Police Chief Thomas Perkins is today alerting area residents to a telephone scam targeting Massachusetts residents, where the caller pretends to be a Wenham Police Officer demanding money to bail out a relative who has been arrested.
In one unfortunate example, an elderly Hingham woman was talked into buying $4,000 worth of pre-paid credit cards and reading the credit card numbers over the phone to the caller.
The caller identified himself as “Wenham Police Officer Steven Parker” and told the woman that her son has been arrested. “Officer Parker” told the woman to buy $2,000 worth of “Green dot cards” at a local store. Once she gave the caller the credit card information, the caller then told the victim that she needed to buy $2,000 in additional pre-paid credit cards to cover “court costs.” The victim complied, and the money was lost.
Unfortunately, it was only after the victim lost the money that she called Wenham Police directly to question what was going on.
Additionally, there is no Wenham Police Officer named Steven Parker.
“This is a sad and unfortunate situation that involves taking advantage of the elderly, fraud, and impersonation of police,” Chief Perkins said. “We are working closely with our partner law enforcement agencies, and we will aggressively pursue those responsible.”
Chief Perkins also wants to remind residents of the following facts:
- A police officer will NEVER demand payment over the phone for a relative who has been arrested.
- A police officer will NEVER ask someone to purchase pre-paid credit cards for “bail” or “court costs.”
- Police officers do not administer court costs or set bail rates.
- When you give someone a pre-paid credit card, it’s as good as giving them cash. Pre-paid cards also do not have the same fraud protection failsafes as bank credit and debit cards.
- Never give out personal information to a stranger over the phone — including your full name, social security number, date of birth, address, bank account numbers, or credit card information.
- When in doubt, hang up and call 911. You’re not bothering us by calling!
The incident is under investigation by Hingham and Wenham Police. Anyone with information on this incident is urged to call Wenham Police at 978-468-4000 or Hingham Police at 781-749-1212.