FALMOUTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Police in Falmouth say townspeople are being targeted by a familiar phone scam. Some have lost thousands of dollars, but others, they say, have been saved by workers at the local Wal-Mart.
Police say they’re getting multiple calls about the phone scam every day. The scam is not new: typically a person is called about a family member in trouble, and needing money. They’re told to wire money or send it through pre-paid cards.
One Falmouth resident, who asked that his name not be used, told NEWS CENTER the scammers pretended to be a nephew, allegedly threatened with jail in Philadelphia unless the man sent $2,000. He says the scammers were convincing, and told him to go to the local Wal-Mart to send the money. But at the store, the clerk thought it sounded like a scam, called police and together they convinced the man not to pay.
Police are praising the store’s employees.
“Our Wal-Mart customer service department the past week has had at least three I’m aware of that they have caught on to, given us a call, we have gone down talked to these people and helped them get hold of the loved one make sure they’re OK and not wire the money,” said Sgt. Frank Soule of the Falmouth PD.
Wal-Mart sent a written statement, saying, "Our stores have policies in place to help guard against these types of crimes, and we train our associates to be aware of this potential threat."
Sgt. Soule said some other people in town haven’t been so lucky, and said one person was taken by the scam for $4,000.
Police warn the scammers are very persuasive, but say the best defense is to hang up, then call the family member mentioned in the call, to make sure they’re OK. And don’t pay the scammers.