DRACUT — Chief Peter Bartlett is pleased to share the diligent work of three Dracut Police officers and a Northern Middlesex Regional Emergency Communications Center (NMRECC) dispatcher, which resulted in the recovery of cash for a victim of an apparent scam.
On April 3, Dracut Police received a call from a woman in Florida who reported that she believed her elderly mother had fallen victim to a scam and had sent $25,000 in cash to an address in Dracut. The daughter stated that her mother had received a call stating that her grandson was arrested and in police custody and money needed to be sent to a supposed lawyer for him to be released. She also stated that the package sent to Dracut containing the cash had not yet been delivered.
Dracut Police worked with UPS to intercept the package before it was delivered and the money will be returned to the victim. The incident remains under investigation.
For their diligent and efficient work, Sgt. Lawrence Flynn, Lt. Wilmer Buote, Detective Megan Farley and Dispatcher Andrew Talmacci will be recognized with letters of commendation. The victim’s daughter also expressed her appreciation of their efforts.
“The ability to recover funds for the victim of a scam is an incredibly rare occurrence,” Chief Bartlett said. “I am very proud of these officers and Dispatcher Talmacci for their dedication and thorough work, which resulted in the recovery of a large sum of funds for a well-meaning person who had unfortunately been targeted by someone with ill intentions. I’d also like to credit the victim’s daughter for her attentiveness and for contacting police as soon as she learned of the possible scam. We are thankful that an oftentimes irreversible situation ended positively.”
Scammers often target seniors by coaxing them into sending money by claiming that a relative is in trouble. These claims may include a relative has been arrested and needs to be bailed out of police custody, a fake accident, or other family emergency or troubling situation.
Chief Bartlett would like to share the following information and tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about family emergency scams:
Verify an Emergency
If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money:
- Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
- Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
- Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
- Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
- Don’t wire money — or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
- Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.
Scammers Use Tricks
They impersonate your loved one convincingly.
It’s surprisingly easy for a scam artist to impersonate someone. Social networking sites make it easier than ever to sleuth out personal and family information. Scammers also could hack into the email account of someone you know. To make their story seem legitimate, they may involve another crook who claims to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer.
They play on your emotions.
Scammers are banking on your love and concern to outweigh your skepticism. Con artists may impersonate grandchildren in distress to trick concerned grandparents into sending money. Sometimes, this is called a “Grandparent Scam.”
They swear you to secrecy.
Con artists may insist that you keep their request for money confidential – to keep you from checking out their story and identifying them as imposters. Victims of this scam often don’t realize they’ve been tricked until days later, when they speak to their actual family member or friend who knows nothing about the “emergency.” By then, the money they sent can’t be recovered.
They insist that you wire money right away.
Scammers pressure people into wiring money because it’s like sending cash – once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back. Imposters encourage using money transfer services so they can get your money before you realize you’ve been scammed.
Learn more about these types of scams and how to protect yourself and your family members from the FTC or the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.