Rochester Woman Falls Victim to Elaborate Law Enforcement Scam
Rochester Police Captain Casey Moilanen said the 65-year-old victim reported getting a pop-up message on her computer on Tuesday prompting her to call a number that was presented as Microsoft Support. The victim told officers the woman on the phone told her that her computer’s IP address was compromised and referred her to another phone number she claimed was for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Moilanen said the victim called that number and was told her bank account was involved in an international money laundering scheme and that someone in Texas was using her computer’s IP address to view child pornography and illegal gambling online. The victim reported refusing a request from the fake FTC employee to wire money and said she would empty her account and keep her money in her house.
She said the person on the phone told her she would be arrested if she did that and that the scammer knew which bank housed the victim’s account. Moilanen said the victim reported withdrawing $20,000 in cash and sending the money via UPS Air Freight to a Florida address.
The victim then said she was called by someone claiming to be from the FBI who wanted to stay on the phone with her all night. The woman then realized she was the victim of the scam and contacted Rochester police on Wednesday.
Moilanen says Rochester police are working with the proper authorities in Florida to try and intercept the money before it arrives at its intended address. He said scammers often target elderly people and try to instill a sense of fear and anxiety to scam their targets out of money.
Moilanen said a government agency will never ask for banking or personal information over the phone. He encourages anyone who feels they may be the target of a scam to contact Rochester police, a family member or trusted friend before sending any money or information.