HINGHAM (CBS) – Two checks worth more than $5,000 show up as a reward for being a loyal customer. It sounds good, right? Well, Hingham Police Chief Michael Peraino says, it is too good to be true and he was recently targeted.
“I never did any business with these people. This isn’t a check we should be receiving for the police department for any reason,” he said. “I just brushed it off, it was Friday afternoon and I’ll find out Monday what’s going on. So I came to work this morning and UPS delivered a package to me and inside the package was another check,” Peraino explained.
The first check was for $3,000, the second for $2,350. “This was delivered by UPS to the front door and you have to sign for it,” Peraino said. But even with that and checks that look legitimate, the Chief knew this was a scam.
He called both banks on the checks and the businesses that had supposedly sent them. “The poor girl on the switchboard was going nuts. She was like ‘this is inundating us with all these calls. We’ve been getting them since last week and people are actually giving the money and they want to know why the checks are bouncing,” he said.
The scammers ask for a couple hundred bucks to be wired to cover taxes and fees. Victims send that, but the check, of course, never clears. The banks, Peraino found out, traced the scheme back to Nigeria. The tactics aren’t new, but people still fall for it, the reason he wanted to sound the alarm here at home.
“We get these calls all the time and what irritates you is it is mostly the elderly that gets scammed on this stuff,” he said. “Then to actually have it come to me, I’m sure they didn’t know that I was the police chief.”
Peraino says if you get something like the checks he received which raise a red flag, don’t hesitate to call police. “It’s not like nobody’s doing this. People are actually falling for it and that is the sad part people are getting scammed out of their money.”