Press Release
1l Bruce Place
Greenwich, CT 06830
Phone (203) 622-8000
Fax (203) 622-3640
Contact: LT. Kraig Gray
Phone: (203) 622-3620
For Immediate Release
July 12, 2013
“Loved One in Distress” Fraud
Scams wherein the perpetrator takes advantage of the trusting nature of a family member are not new and are very common. These thieves are preying upon your compassion and trustworthiness.
On July 12, 2013 the victim, a Greenwich resident and native Spanish speaker, received a text from an unknown number originating in Puerto Rico. The text message stated that her (adult) son had been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and was in need of help. When she responded to the text she spoke with a man in Spanish who related that the victim’s son had not been in an accident but had been kidnapped by “escaped convicts.” He then demanded a ransom and threatened to kill the victim’s son if she called the police.
Unfortunately, through a set of ill-fated coincidences the victim was unable to immediately contact her son. It would take several gut-wrenching hours before the police could verify that the son was fine, that the message was a complete falsehood, and that no money had been sent.
This Department and other Police Departments in the state frequently investigate complaints very similar to this scam. Each scam includes some sort of combination of the following:
 a loved one is in danger or in a hospital or under arrest
 the incident occurred overseas or where the subject attends school or where they had been on vacation
 the money needs to be wired immediately so assistance can be given immediately

 the call back numbers given to the victim originate out of country.
 In this instance the scammers included the threat of violence.
If you receive a call similar to the incident mentioned above or receive a text stating you won the lottery and need to send money to collect the prize, don’t send any money. You are being scammed and will never see the money again. YOU should initiate a call to the love one DIRECTLY. Be mindful that any call or letter stating you need to act NOW or if you’re directed to go to a certain location to wire the money. These are all red flags and you should be wary.
A short list of ways to protect yourself include:
 It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you don’t recognize.
 Do not give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
 Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails (spam): delete them.
 Do not click on any links in a spam email or open any files attached to them.
 NEVER reply to a spam email or SMS (even to unsubscribe).
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates and catalogues national scam trends. Their website provides useful information and is available in Spanish. It is an excellent resource to educate yourself about Scams, Computer Crimes, and Identity Theft.