Woburn police warn of scams involving fake virus alerts, government impersonators

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WOBURN — Police in Woburn are warning residents of a surge in sophisticated scams by phone and computer, urging heightened vigilance among the public.

One common scam involves a fraudulent “pop up” notification on a victim’s computer screen, warning of a virus infection.

The message prompts the user to click on it, which leads to a seemingly legitimate webpage.

The notification might include a phone number purporting to be “Microsoft Security,” “McAfee Anti-Virus Software,” or another reputable company.

Upon calling, the scammer informs the victim that their bank accounts are at risk and instructs them to transfer money or wire funds to provided account numbers.

Scammers are also directing victims to use and purchase cryptocurrency.

Another phone scam involves impostors claiming to represent “Homeland Security,” the “US Marshals,” or “US Border and Customs.”

The scammer, armed with accurate personal information, tells the victim they are wanted for a serious crime in another state and threaten arrest unless immediate payment is made.

A recent report detailed a victim directed to deposit a large cash sum into a cryptocurrency ATM, with the money subsequently routed through various accounts.

The “Grandchild in Jail” scam also persists, with fraudsters posing as court officials or attorneys claiming a grandchild has been arrested.

They coerce victims into withdrawing cash for bail, and then send a “courier” to collect the funds.

Woburn police emphasize that legitimate agencies never demand cash payments or instruct individuals to use cryptocurrency or wire transfers to unknown accounts.

They also caution against any instructions to purchase gift cards for debt repayment.

Residents are advised to hang up immediately on such calls and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.

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