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Milford Police Warn of Hostage Phone Call Scams

Officers are investigating three recent incidents in which the victim is told a family member is being held hostage — until the caller receives a wire transfer of money.

The Milford Police Department is currently investigating three incidents involving suspicious phone calls. Credit: Patch file photo
The Milford Police Department is currently investigating three incidents involving suspicious phone calls. Credit: Patch file photo

Police are once again reminding Milford residents to be wary of strangers on the other end of the line asking for money after a recent rash of phone scams in town.

The Milford Police Department is currently investigating three incidents involving suspicious phone calls.

'Held Hostage'

According to Officer Jeffrey Nielsen, the department's public information officer, during the calls the victim tells the caller that they were involved in a motor vehicle accident with one of the victim's family members.

"The caller tells the victim that the family member is being held hostage by force until the caller receives payment from the victim," Nielsen stated in a release. 

The victim is then instructed to electronically wire the money through Western Union to a person and location provided by the caller. 

"They are told that once the money is received their family member will be released," Nielsen said.

Two Victims Wired Money

In two of the incidents, one of the victims did electronically wire $500 and the other victim $3,600. 

The third complainant was aware of the scam and hung up the phone. 

During one of the phone calls the victim stated they males voice appeared to be of Latin descent.

Wiring Services Often Used

The Milford Police Department will be alerting local businesses that offer Western Union Services of this scam to alert potential victims. 

Companies that offer electronic wiring services that are commonly used by fraudsters provide tips for consumers regarding these types of scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.

If you receive any type of phone call, letter or email that asks you to send money in this manner it is usually a scam. 

Scam Protection Tips

Below are some suggestions from the Milford Police Department on how to protect yourself from becoming a scam victim:

  • Be hesitant of any unsolicited phone call, emails, text messages or letters you receive.
  • Do not provide any personal information to the caller or respond to the email.
  • Ask the name of the relative they are calling you about.
  • Contact that relative to verify there is no problem.
  • Avoid sending any money via electronic wiring services or providing your banking/credit card information to the fraudster.
  • Scammers obtain the information they use from social media sites, marketing lists and other sources. Limit their access to your information.
  • Perform an internet search of the phone number or email address regarding potential scam activities related to it.

Investigation Continues

The Milford Police Department is continuing with these investigations and is asking anyone with information regarding these types of scams is asked to contact Detective Chila at (203) 877-1465, email dchila@ci.milford.ct.us or visit the MPD's website at www.milfordpd.org and click on “Crime Tips” to report the information.

Lindy Smith February 04, 2014 at 03:38 PM
If you wait until the 4th ring to answer your phone, all telemarketers and scammers will be gone

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