Last month a 62 year old Andover man reported to the Police that he had been the victim of an online scam. In all the 62 year old had lost $700,000 in what the police referred to as a dating scam.
Lt. Eddie Guy of the Andover Police said scams where people lose large sums of money are becoming all too common and while scams have always been prevalent they are getting more complicated and more “bizarre.”
Guy said the scam involving the 62 year old was typical.
“It starts with building relationships, which the victim believes is some sort of dating relationship,” said Guy.
According to Guy the 62 year old had been in contact with the scammer for a few months during which the scam took place.
Then the scam actually happens, said Guy.
“They directed them to a certain account and had them place money in whatever bitcoin account that was,” said Guy. “At some point in time the person realized they were being scammed and then reported that,” said Guy.
Guy said the types of scams tend to change depending on whatever one has been found to be successful. It began with the stereotypical emails scams and nowadays we see more law enforcement and dating scams.
Sometimes like in the case of the 62 year old, Guy said the Andover Police end work alongside the FBI or U.S Secret Service, due to how significant the monetary loss was.
“Some of these scams are so pervasive that we don’t have the resources to look further into them,” said Guy.
Guy offered a few bits of advice on what to do when you think you might be getting scammed.
“The best way to handle that is to not talk to them at all,” said Guy.
According to Guy, people usually fall for scams either because they simply are not paying attention or because the information that the scammer is giving them seems credible.
You should also always be wary of any calls by “law enforcement” attempting to get them to pay money, said Guy.
“We would never just randomly call somebody or email somebody saying we want money from them,” said Guy.
You should also be checking on your bank account every couple of days and looking for suspicious activity no matter what, said Guy.
Scams are also not just affecting the older population, said Guy.
“We have people from all ages, all backgrounds that fall to these scams,” said Guy.
Guy referenced a recent scam where a 31 year old woman had lost thousands of dollars.
But even if you figure out the scam and report it, will anything come out of it?
“A lot of times people are able to get their money back,” said Guy.
However, Guy said it usually depends on the type of scheme used and how long it has been going on, with the involvement of Cryptocurrency making the recovery of money far less likely.
In all cases Guy recommends against hasty decision making.
“People just need to take a step back and think about what they are doing before sending any money to anybody,” said Guy.