Chief of Police
2 Mudge Way
Bedford, MA 01730
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Bedford Police Partner with Businesses to Prevent Fraudulent Wire Transfers
BEDFORD — Chief Robert Bongiorno announces that the Bedford Police Department is collaborating with businesses in town to prevent fraudulent wire transfers.
Police have received multiple reports of phone and email scams in the community. Residents who fall victim to these fraudulent offers and calls often wire money through Western Union, MoneyGram, Green Dot and more.
To prevent these situations from occurring, Bedford Police have posted signs at CVS, Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, the Post Office and the Council on Aging. The flyers urge customers to take a moment to consider their transaction and to confirm they are not being scammed by contacting police. Residents can also scan a code at the bottom of the sign with their cell phone that will bring them to an anti-fraud website for further information.
“Before wiring money to someone you don’t know, always contact police and we can determine the authenticity of the request before your funds are lost and gone forever,” Chief Bongiorno said. “We’re hopeful that working with our local businesses will deter these crimes from occurring by prompting citizens to think twice before they wire money.”
Some of the scenarios the department has seen recently include:
On Wednesday, March 2, a pastor at one of Bedford’s churches reported receiving an email requesting a transfer of $19,850 to an address in Pennsylvania. The e-mail included a Citizen’s Bank account number and routing number. The person who sent the e-mails pretended to be related to the pastor. Thankfully, no money was transferred.
That same week, on Friday, March 4, a resident received a call from a “Microsoft” customer service representative who reported that the man’s computer had been compromised and was running slow. “Microsoft” was able to access his computer remotely at the same time the resident accessed his bank account and PayPal information. The victim then received a call from someone at the Internal Revenue Service stating his account had been fraudulently accessed. The IRS agent stated the suspect could be caught if he sent a MoneyGram transfer for the services. The victim completed two transfers of $2,470 to a province in India.
On Saturday, March 5, the resident then received a call from someone claiming to be from the Department of Justice. This person stated that the transfers to India appeared suspicious and that the DOJ would be working with the IRS to resolve this issue. The resident was instructed to make several other MoneyGram transfers, this time to different locations and people in India. He sent a total of five MoneyGram transfers on Saturday, each $2,470.
The transfers were made from Walmart in Tewksbury and Lowell, Shaw’s in Burlington, Stop and Shop in Bedford, Lexington, and Chelmsford, and Wegmans in Burlington. The total amount transferred through MoneyGram was $24,700.
Anyone who believes they may be involved in a scam should contact the Bedford Police at 781-275-1212.