The incident happened in January 2023, when state troopers responded to a New London County home in Montville after an elderly couple reported losing thousands of dollars from a phone scam, state police said in a release from Thursday, March 1.
Once troopers arrived, the couple told police that they had received a call earlier that day from someone claiming to be a representative from a state agency. The "representative" had told them a family member was in custody at a location over an hour from the couple's home after allegedly being involved in a motor vehicle accident, and that they would need to provide bond money that same day for the relative to be released.
The victims added that the caller had used the correct first and last name of the relative, adding to their credibility.
Over more phone calls, the scammer then went on to tell the couple that they would have to deliver the "bond money" through a courier service arranged by the caller. The victims, who were told not to discuss the transaction with anyone else due to "safety," then gathered the money and delivered it to a courier who arrived at the couple's home a short time later. The courier then left the area with the money.
A half-hour later, the relative who the scammers had claimed was in custody then showed up at the couple's home, which then led them to realize they had been scammed.
After the couple explained the situation to the troopers, they were able to recover a portion of the money given to the scammers. However, the perpetrators of the scam have still not been identified.
To prevent similar scams from affecting other people, police are giving the following tips to avoid them:
- People who receive calls claiming a relative is in custody should try to contact that family member or other relatives who can confirm it to avoid falling victim to scams;
- Any warning not to speak to anyone else about a transfer of money may be a sign that a scammer is calling you;
- Never give out personal information such as banking information, credit card numbers, social security numbers, medical insurance information, or other personal identifying information without confirming that the call is legitimate. This can be done by calling the institution or agency directly to make sure they are the real source of the call.
- Never pay for fees over the phone using gift cards, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, an ATM machine, or a wire transfer.
Police said that scammers often target elderly couples but that similar phone scams could affect anyone.
Anyone who falls victim to a fall scam should immediately call the police.
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