Franklin Countys First News

Police warn of scams requesting wired funds

FARMINGTON - Police are sounding the alarm about a series of scams targeting local residents that revolve around requests to wire money.

According to Farmington Police Department Detective Marc Bowering, police have been dealing with scam complaints on a weekly basis, with some residents reporting losses of thousands of dollars. This recent collection of scams incorporate the use of wire transfer services - commonly utilizing Western Union or MoneyGram - to instantly transfer the money into the account of the individual or entity orchestrating the scam.

Unlike a check, which can be cancelled, or some other financial transactions, a wire transfer typically result in the money disappearing as soon as it's approved.

Some common variants of the scam include an imposter Internal Revenue Service agent demanding payment for back taxes, or someone claiming to represent a public utility and requesting the transfer of money, sometimes via the purchase of gift or store cards. Other scams will use the name of a relative, attempting to trick the resident into sending funds be claiming that relative has been hurt or arrested, sometimes in another country.

Another version of the scam will have the caller claim to represent a technical support company, requesting money to repair the victim's computer. Yet another version informs the resident that they've won a contest or sweepstakes event, requesting funds to claim a prize.

Bowering said that residents confused or concerned about any request for funds contact police at 778-6311 or simply stop in at the station at 116 Franklin Avenue. Contacting police may only take a minute, he pointed out, while money wired to a fraud account typically disappears forever.

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