At least three Medfield residents have been targeted recently by scam phone calls, in which the caller claims to have custody of a family member, or have property that was damaged by them, and demands a money transfer.
Police Chief Robert Meaney Jr. said, so far, no one has lost any money, but noted people should be aware that similar phone calls have been spread over Eastern Massachusetts since summer, and about 70 people have reported receiving the calls in various communities.
Police in Medfield received at least three calls from residents in the past week, alerting them to phone calls reaching local residents. The most recent, on Sunday, involved a caller who told the woman who answered he had her brother, and "unless she wired him money, they would harm him," according to a narrative in the Medfield police log. The woman then called her brother, who was fine.
The story line changes with each phony call, Meaney said, but generally follow a pattern in which the person who calls says "your son," "your daughter," "your grandson" has been in a car crash, and damaged the person's property. The caller then demands payment, and says everything will be resolved if the caller sends money.
The scam is similar to one that had targeted older people, by callers claiming that their grandchild in college had been arrested and immediately needed bail money, Meaney said.
In many cases, the caller does not have the name or personal information of the recipient's relative, but when the person who answers gets upset and confused, they may share information, such as a name. The caller then uses this information to reinforce their phony story.
Police are investigating and are working with other area police departments, Meaney said.
If people receive a call, he advised to not share any information with the caller. "I would simply hang up," he said.