WINTHROP — The Winthrop Police Department is cautioning the community to be vigilant following a scam that led to an 80-year-old resident being defrauded out of $35,000, according to Chief Terence M. Delehanty.
On Nov. 30, police were alerted to the incident where the elderly resident was tricked into withdrawing funds and transferring them to an unknown recipient using a bitcoin ATM.
The department is currently conducting an active investigation into the matter.
In response to the scam, local authorities are urging residents to be cautious, take their time, and consult with someone they trust if they suspect they have been approached by scammers.
The Federal Trade Commission highlights four signs to recognize potential scams: imposters pretending to be familiar organizations, claims of problems or prizes, pressure to act quickly, and instructions to pay in specific ways, such as via bitcoin, money transfers, or gift cards.
Additionally, the FTC advises against clicking on links in emails or text messages, even if they seem to come from reputable companies.
Instead, individuals should reach out to the company through verified contact methods.
The U.S. Marshal in Boston also issued a warning on Nov. 17 about a scam involving fraudulent calls claiming association with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Scammers have been using “spoofing” techniques to make their calls appear legitimate.
The U.S. Marshals Service reminds the public that they do not request personal financial details over the phone and recommend reporting any suspicious calls to the FBI and FTC.
Chief Delehanty emphasizes that legitimate businesses rarely require payment via bitcoin or gift cards and encourages anyone contacted by potential scammers to seek advice before proceeding.
Anyone who suspects they have been targeted by a scam or needs assistance should contact the Winthrop Police Department at 617-846-1212.
For more information about scams, the public is directed to visit the FTC’s website or the state’s website.