Police Log: Fraudster Poses as Geek Squad in Gift Card Scam


Image by Westwood Minute/Darlene Wong Cancell.

The news described in Westwood Minute's weekly Police Log article series is primarily based on selected information from the Westwood Police Department's daily log and information provided by Lieutenant Christopher Sheehy and police staff. Occasionally, a few facts from other sources may be woven into these stories.

Monday, February 12th

Suspicious Dark Figures

2:39 a.m. A caller reported two people in dark clothing, walking down the middle of Clapboardtree Street toward Washington Street, before the Milk Street intersection. Police responded but did not find any such pedestrians.

Working Ambulance is Stuck by Swerving Vehicle

7:29 a.m. A Walpole Fire Department ambulance was struck by a 2015 Chevy driven by a man from Lawrence, on High Street just in front of the Westwood Fire Station headquarters. The police report indicates the Walpole ambulance was travel ing with a patient onboard and lights and sirens flashing.

Traffic in both east and west directions were pulling over to the far right to make room for the ambulance. However, the 2015 Chevy swerved and drove around the vehicle ahead of it, which had stopped . The driver’s side rear-view mirror of the Chevy struck the same on the ambulance.

The ambulance continued on to the hospital. The driver of the Chevy informed police that when the vehicle in front of him suddenly stopped, he swerved around it to avoid a crash. Police issued the driver a citation for following too closely.

Not in Distress - Just Asleep

7:51 a.m. Police received a call that a tractor trailer was parked in the Ira Acura parking lot on Providence Highway, and its driver was unable to be roused. Westwood Fire Department was dispatched in the event the driver might be in medical distress. It was discovered that the individual was asleep. The driver was awakened, and police cleared the area.

Sunday, February 11th

Suspicious Vehicle in Early Morning

3:22 a.m. Police received a report of a black SUV, possibly a Toyota, that was parked at Audi Westwood on Providence Highway. It lingered there for around 10 minutes before heading in the direction of the nearby Porsche dealership. A Westwood police cruiser checked the area but did not find the vehicle.

Mistaken Identity or Identity Theft?

11:48 a.m. A resident of Dean Street walked into the police station to report an issue of mistaken identity or identity theft with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. The resident told police he was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by Medfield Police. After providing identification to the Medfield Police, the resident learned that a false address in Revere, Massachusetts was attached to his registration at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Medfield Police also advised the resident that he appears to owe excise tax on a 2013 Range Rover which is registered to him.

The resident is a long-time resident of Westwood. He reported he is not the owner of a Range Rover. Police referred him to the Department of Motor Vehicles to correct its records.

Christmas Lights Vandalized

3:23 p.m. Police were dispatched to a home on Willow Street on the report of vandalism to exterior Christmas lights. The homeowner told police that in the process of removing the lights, the homeowner discovered that about six strands had been cut with a wire cutter or similar tool. As the lights had not been used for several weeks, the homeowner is unsure when the vandalism occurred.

Saturday, February 10th

Bike Rack Stolen from Gables

11:00 a.m. A resident of Gables University Station apartments reported that his bicycle rack was missing from the common storage area in the apartment garage that is used for such equipment.

Suspicious Activity at Ira Acura

7:59 p.m. The security company for Ira Acura on Providence Highway informed police that two males and one female, operating with a white van, appeared to be taking tires from a pile on the property. Police checked the area and found only cleaning company personnel present inside the building. However, a pile of tires was observed on the premises.

Thursday, February 8th

Child Uninjured in Car Collision

6:21 p.m. A resident of Gay Street reported that a vehicle struck the resident's 9 year-old son while he was riding his bike, knocking the bike over and causing him to fall to the ground. The boy was uninjured. For more details, read Westwood Minute's article, "Child on Bicycle Escapes Injuries after Being Struck by Vehicle While Leaving School Street Playground."

Fraudster Poses as Geek Squad in Gift Card Scam

7:54 p.m. An officer was dispatched to a home on Fairview Street where a resident reported being the victim of a fraudulent scheme resulting in the loss of $2,000 in gift cards. After having computer trouble earlier that day, the resident had contacted a number which she believed belonged to the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

Someone named “Kevin Marshall” with an accent took the call, during which an invitation to a screen-sharing application, AnyDesk, continued to pop up on the resident's computer screen. She also started received warnings from Dedham Savings regarding two fraudulent transactions for $100 and $300. Upon informing “Kevin” of these warnings, he told her that that Best Buy/Geek Squad had mistakenly deposited $17,000 into her Dedham Savings bank account, and that she should transfer the funds back to “Chong Hing Bank Ltd.”

The resident went to Dedham Savings to make the transfer. A bank employee reportedly told her that the transfer request was a scam, and declined to make the transfer. The resident informed “Kevin,” who told her to purchase the same amount in Best Buy gift cards, instead. The resident did so, although her purchase was limited to $2,000 due to CVS store policy. Her attempt to circumvent that policy by purchasing additional gift cards at a different CVS was similarly unsuccessful. She provided the gift card numbers to “Kevin.”

“Kevin” then directed her to go to Target for additional gift cards. She replied she would do so later in the day. At home, the resident received multiple calls from “Kevin.” At this point, she began to suspect a scam and contacted police.

Police spoke to the victim and a male resident of her home. It became apparent that the $17,000 “mistaken” transfer of funds into the victim's account had in fact been funds transferred from the male resident’s bank account into the victim’s bank account. The $17,000 consisted of funds belonging to the household.

Police took steps to delete the AnyDesk application from the victim’s computer and advised the victim to go to Best Buy, in-person, to obtain computer assistance. The total loss reported in this case is $2,000 in gift cards.

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White Van Linked to Suspected Tire Thefts

9:05 p.m. Security for Ira Acura on Providence Highway reported a white van on the premises, belonging to two males who appeared to be stealing tires. The individuals were described as one man wearing a black, puffy coat and another man wearing a red hoodie with a blue hat. Police responded to the scene but were unable to locate the vehicle or suspects.

Wednesday, February 7th

Shopper Sees Thief Steal $1,000 from Her Purse

1:27 p.m. Police spoke to a woman from Quincy who reported having $1,000 stolen from an interior compartment of her purse while she was shopping at HomeGoods on University Avenue. The victim reported having a brief discussion with a man in the cookware section around noon, before moving to the bedding section, where she had another conversation with a second man regarding bedding.

At one point, the woman left her purse in her shopping carriage and walked a few feet away. She reported hearing her purse unzip. She saw the second man going through her purse and taking her $1,000 in cash. Both men immediately left the store.

Police have obtained photos of both suspects from the store’s loss prevention staff.

Who Hid the AirTag?

2:51 p.m. A resident of Stearns Street contacted police after a smartphone provided by the resident’s employer informed the resident that an AirTag was present on the company vehicle which was in the resident’s possession. The resident contacted the employer who denied placing an AirTag on the vehicle.

A Westwood Police officer searched the vehicle and did not locate any AirTag. However, an hour later, the resident called to inform police that the resident was able to illicit an audible response from the AirTag.

After conducting another search, police found an AirTag in the trunk, under the spare tire. The AirTag was turned over to police who booked it into evidence. The resident was advised to inform the employer that an AirTag had been found.

Spinning Tires or Soccer Moms?

4:28 p.m. A resident of Highview Street reported to police that cars were spinning tires and damaging turf at Pheasant Hill Park. An officer noticed marks in the turf.

The officer spoke to a resident of a home abutting the park. The resident informed police that he has not heard spinning tires but that “soccer moms” sometimes use part of the grassy area to make a U-turn to leave the park. Police requested that the resident contact police right away if he hears any engine revving or spinning tires in the future.

Arrest for Suspended License

4:38 p.m. An officer conducting stationary traffic enforcement in the area of Washington and Cobleigh streets queried a license plate of a passing vehicle. The owner of the vehicle had a very recently suspended driver’s license. The driver, a 35 year-old from Norwood, indicated he was unaware of the suspended license status. He was placed under arrest and cited for operating after suspension.

Monday, February 5th

Unemployment Benefits Fraud and Identity Theft

12:35 p.m. A resident of Tamarack Road reported receiving notice of a fraudulent unemployment benefits claim made in his name. He had been unsuccessful in contacting the Department of Unemployment Assistance to report the identity theft. No money had been lost from his own accounts. He plans to report the incident to credit reporting bureaus.

Thanks to Lieutenant Christopher Sheehy and the Westwood Police Department for contributing information for this article.

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