Cambridge Police Help Halt $95K International Wire Transfer Following Scam Attempt

The Cambridge Police Department today announced that a Cambridge resident, who was nearly victimized of $95,000 by an international scammer, has recovered her finances after she wired funds to China. Due to the efforts of the Cambridge Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit and international partners, the scamming attempt was stopped. 

In early June, the Cambridge resident was contacted by an individual, who claimed to be a representative with the Chinese Government. Over the course of a week, the resident was coerced into buying an international phone and was called multiple times a day, which led her to believe that she was the subject of an international arrest warrant. She was requested to wire transfer $95,000 to a bank in Hong Kong or face arrest. The resident complied with the threats and transferred the money. However, following the transfer, the resident became suspicious and contacted the Cambridge Police Department.

Within six days, the resident was able to redeem all but $80 (bank fees associated with a transfer) of the full amount wire transferred. Detectives with the Cambridge Police Department initially requested that she speak with the local bank where she made the transfer in hopes of stopping the payment. An off-duty Detective was then contacted, as he has a professional contact with an IRS agent assigned to Hong Kong. The off-duty Detective contacted the IRS agent directly seeking assistance in freezing the fraudulent account that was used to accept the wire transfer. Simultaneously, the victim contacted the bank and police in Hong Kong, but she was informed reports were not accepted outside of their jurisdiction.

The IRS agent assigned to Hong Kong worked with the police in Hong Kong to freeze the suspect’s account prior to the opening of the Hong Kong bank on Monday morning. The Cambridge resident’s wire transfer was delayed long enough and her money was ultimately returned to her local account in full by the end of the week.

“As a result of standout work by our detectives, particularly Detectives Kenneth Mui and Michael Logan, and tremendous collaboration with several domestic and international agencies, the Cambridge Police were instrumental in helping a resident recover a substantial sum of money,” stated Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr. “Due to these efforts, they may have also helped identify a larger operation that could mitigate future victimization. This was truly impressive work and demonstrated the lengths our officers will go to protect and serve the community.”  

 

Protect Yourself From International Scams

Scammers have been known to target senior citizens, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and International students attending U.S. colleges and universities claiming to be with an international government agency and/or the FBI. The intended victim may be told there’s a federal warrant for their arrest, which will be dismissed in exchange for an immediate payment.

Please note that the IRS or FBI does not call or e-mail people to demand money or threaten arrest.

To avoid becoming the victim of a scam:

  • Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls
  • Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact
  • Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, please hang up

Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov and are always encouraged to contact their local Police Department.


Page was posted on 6/22/2018 8:43 AM
Page was last modified on 2/7/2020 12:59 PM
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