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Hingham, MA - A 94 year old resident fell victim to a common scam yesterday. After she withdrew money from her bank, but before sending it, she came into the police station with scammer still on the phone.
On Friday, February 2, 20204 the 94 year old resident from Linden Ponds (a senior residential community) came into the police station lobby to ask about an email she had received earlier that morning. She said she received an email and alerts on her computer that her bank account had been hacked. She called the phone number listed in the email and spoke with a man who told her that $1,200 had been stolen from her bank account. The man directed her to a website (which may have allowed remote access to her computer). During their conversation, the man told her she needed to go to her bank and withdraw $1,000. The man specifically told her not to make withdrawal from the bank located inside Linden Ponds but instead go to another branch (because staff at that bank would know the resident and likely recognize it as a scam).
The man told the resident to remain on the phone with him throughout the transaction (to prevent her from talking to anyone to realize it was a scam). The man also told her if a bank employee questioned the transaction she should tell them it was for a vacation. The resident drove to different branch and made the withdrawal. The man told her to drive to a specific gas station in Weymouth and she could deposit the cash in an ATM there. The resident feared she would be robbed by someone waiting for her to arrive there and became suspicious. She instead drove to the Hingham Police station.
The man was still on the phone with the woman (for over 3 hours) and hung up when an Officer told the caller she was at the Hingham Police station. Officers called back but the number was out of service. The resident said she had also given the man her credit card information earlier in the call.
We are intentionally sharing several details of this scam to help make others aware of how these scammers operate. These scammers are very convincing at what they do. Notice, they keep the person on the phone to keep them isolated, have the person go to a specific website so they can access their financial information and/or infect their computer, ask for all of the credit card information, direct them away from a bank branch where the staff would know their banking habits, gave the person an excuse if questioned of why they are making a large withdrawal. Based on recent scams we've seen, the caller would have ultimately directed her to ship the cash overnight or wire it.
Our Officers have recently given presentations to seniors (at Linden Ponds and the Senior Center) on common scams that we are seeing. We will continue to make these presentations but we ask you to share this information with those seniors (friends and family). Please, have a conversation with them about these details and help us make them aware. Awareness is the best way to stop our seniors from losing money and from becoming victims of identity fraud. As always, we recommend you just delete any such emails or not answer unfamiliar calls. If you are worried that an email or a missed call may be from an actual financial institution, we recommend you contact them only on the phone number or on the website you have on your card or your statement. ### Contact P.I.O. Lt. Steven Dearth