The Cambridge Police Department Warns Local Businesses of Schemes Targeting Employees

The Cambridge Police Department wants to make local businesses aware of a counterfeit money scheme involving a spoofed Cambridge Police phone number that recently victimized two businesses of thousands of dollars.

In both cases, employees of local Cambridge businesses were called by a suspect claiming to be Lieutenant Lockley of the Cambridge Police Department. The suspect alleged that they were investigating a counterfeit money scheme. The caller identification displayed “Cambridge Police” and the phone number “617-349-3300,” the actual non-emergency business number for the Cambridge Police Department that was determined to be spoofed by the suspect(s).

The suspect(s) instructed the employees to collect all of the available cash currently in their businesses, as the cash needed to be investigated for counterfeit activity. Both employees were then informed that the business’ bank account had been frozen due to a counterfeiting issue and to unfreeze it, the cash had to be converted into gift cards. Green Dot MoneyPak and Amazon gift cards were purchased by the employees at various local stores, where the cards are available. PIN numbers associated with the cards were then provided over the phone to the suspect(s), allowing the suspect(s) to anonymously extract the value from the cards without being identified. Both businesses then reported this activity to the Cambridge Police Department and an investigation into both incidents remains ongoing.

Tips for Businesses:

  • Understand your employees who handle monetary transactions may be targeted.
  • Be cautious of requests for urgency and mimicked phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Scammers can rig a caller ID to look like they’re calling from the police department or even your own number. Don’t rely on caller ID.  
  • Pick up the phone and verify legitimate organizations.
  • Never provide your personal information, including your business’ bank account information, to someone you do not know and trust.
  • Do not send money to someone you have not met and have no reason to trust. Prepaid cards are like paying cash — once the money is gone, you can’t get it back.
  • If you’re defrauded, act quickly, contact your bank, and report to your local police department and IC3.gov.


As a reminder, a police department nor will a local, state or federal law enforcement agency ever call a business and ask for their financial information over the phone or seek payments made via gift cards. If you don’t recognize a phone number, the best step you can take is to let it go to voicemail or hang up right away. If it is important, whoever is calling will leave a message and you can always call back.


The Cambridge Police Department has published a comprehensive guide that details all things scams and frauds, what each of them encompasses, the techniques used by suspects, and the strategies you can use to protect yourself. To download this free guide, please visit 
cambridgema.gov/cpd/communityresources/CrimePrevention/studentguidetofraudscams.


###

Page was posted on 5/23/2022 5:37 PM
Page was last modified on 5/25/2022 11:24 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement


Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.