Fraud Prevention

Chief Michael Murphy and the North Reading Police Department wish to warn the community about scams that target residents and senior citizens in particular.

In the so-called “grandparent scam,” a scammer calls the targeted victim and posses as a grandchild or another relative and reports that they have been arrested and need money to be released by local authorities. The scammer urges the senior not to tell anyone else in the family. The scammer requests bail payment in cash or gift card, to be given to a person posing as a courier or bail bondsman who arrives at the victim’s home. Or, the scammer requests money be transferred via a wire service, such as Western Union.

In a variation of this scam, a second scammer posing as a law enforcement official calls the senior to reinforce the bogus story.

The North Reading Police state that government agencies, including law enforcement, never contact the public demanding payment by wire transfer or by prepaid cards. In every case, once the money is transferred or the debit card number is given, the money is usually lost forever and can not be recovered. 

While it is extremely difficult to recover these funds residents and community members should always report these instances of scams to the police.

North Reading Police remind residents that any arrest or detainment of relatives can be confirmed with the arresting police department or through the local district court clerk’s office.

“We encourage residents and community members, especially our seniors, to remain aware of these scams and take steps to protect themselves and their finances,” said Chief Murphy. “Residents who believe they are the target of a scam should call the North Reading Police Department immediately.”

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