October 17, 2019

Cops: ‘Extremely convincing’ new scam

Williston Police have seen an uptick in phone scammers calling homes and trying to convince people to wire money electronically.

In an alert last week, the Williston Police said several complaints had been reported in which scammers tell the person picking up the phone not to hang up, and that they have a loved one who has been hurt, or is being held for ransom or that is in some other life-threatening situation. The caller then demands money, and specifies that it must be wired electronically.

Burlington Police cited a June 6 report in which a 23-year-old Milton woman received a call by an unknown scammer and was told that her husband had been taken hostage and would be killed if she didn’t comply with his demands.

The victim was told that if she made any attempt to contact her husband or anyone else, he would kill him, the Burlington release said. She was told to send money via Western Union and once it was verified that she had sent it, her husband would be set free. Police found the husband was OK, and the incident was part of the scam.

“This scam is very concerning as the suspects are extremely convincing and have caused a significant amount of emotional and financial stress on the victims they have targeted,” the Burlington Police Department release stated. Law enforcement is telling residents that if they feel they’re being fraudulently targeted by phone to not give out any information, hang up the phone and to contact their local police immediately. Williston Police can be reached at 878-6611.

—Observer staff

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