Chief Michael P Murphy
150 Park St.
North Reading, MA 01864
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
North Reading Police Warn Residents About “Grandparent” Telephone Scam
Do Not Send Money to Someone You Do Not Know
NORTH READING — Chief Michael P. Murphy and the North Reading Police Department are warning area seniors to be on guard against a common telephone scam that has been reported to be targeting North Reading seniors recently.
The Grandparent Scam
Individuals behind these scams prey on seniors in an attempt to steal money money from well-meaning relatives. Impostors pose as relatives in trouble, creating stories about an individual’s family to make the scenario sound authentic and tricking them into sending money. In a typical scenario, the caller tells the victim that he or she has been arrested overseas and is in need of money in order to be released by local authorities. The caller stresses the urgency of the situation and often claims to be embarrassed, asking the senior not to tell anyone else in the family about the call.
In some cases the victim may receive a call from a second individual claiming to be a law enforcement official who verifies the story. As in many scams, the caller then asks the senior to wire money through a service such as Western Union or provide prepaid debit card information so they can get payment quickly.
In every case, once the money is transferred or the debit card number is given, the money is lost forever and cannot be recovered.
Most importantly, government agencies including law enforcement will NEVER contact you demanding payment by wire transfer or prepaid cards.
“Scam artists prey on innocent, well-meaning grandparents in an attempt to steal money from people who are often on a fixed income,” Chief Murphy said. “Never, ever send a wire transfer or a pre-paid debit card to a person you do not know.”
If you believe you have been a victim of such a scam, you are urged to call North Reading Police at 978-664-3131 or this scam can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1 or the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-8400 or electronically at http://www.eform.ago.state.ma.us/ago_eforms/forms/piac_ecomplaint.action.