A Brookfield bank inadvertently sent $70,000 of a business customer's money to a questionable company overseas, but fortunately was able to reverse the transfer, according to Brookfield police.
It was one of a rash of scam attempts that blew through Brookfield over two days recently, the rest aimed at residents – one of whom fell for it.
The flurry of fraud reports began on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, but there was no love in these messages.
At 12:08 p.m., Tri-City Bank, 17100 Blue Mound Rd., called police to report that it had made a wire transfer of $69,910 the day before to a Chinese company on behalf of a business customer.
But that customer, MEP Mechanical Services of Milwaukee, had just contacted the bank to say that no such request for a money transfer had been made.
The wire transfer went to the account of Samreem Indian Provision Store in Hong Kong. Tri-City told police the bank was trying to have the transfer recalled.
The Brookfield police later confirmed that the money was recovered and returned to the account of MEP. Police forwarded the information on the fraud to the Secret Service.
Resident falls prey to 'in jail, need bail' con
One Brookfield man was not as lucky.
The same day, a resident of the 15400 block of Indian Creek Parkway reported that he had fallen victim to a phone scam when he got a call from a man he was led to believe was his grandson.
The "grandson" told him he’d been arrested for drugs in Mexico and needed $1,000 bail money. The victim went to a Walmart and bought a Green Dot money card, called back with the number, then realized he had been conned.
These 'prizes' need to go unclaimed
That scam and the infamous "You have just won a huge prize (with one catch)" continued, but four other residents refused to play along.
- A resident of the 14100 block of Ridgewood Road reported an attempted scam, also on Feb. 14, after a man with a foreign accent called three times telling her she’d won $950,000 but needed to go to a Walmart and buy a $150 Green Dot money card and call back with the card number. She refused to play along, told the man she knew it was a scam, and gave him nothing.
- Beginning on Feb. 15, a Brookfield man reported that a man with a heavy foreign accent had called him and said he’d won $2 million, and all he had to do to claim it was go to a CVS Pharmacy and buy a Green Back Money Pack for 1 percent of the total prize – an “award fee” of just $20,000. The intended victim said the man had called back twice to ask if he’d bought the card yet. He said he knew it was a scam and wasn’t going to give up any money but wanted police to be aware of the fraud.
- Another resident hung up on a caller who was pretending to be his grandson, saying he was in the Philippines for a wedding and had been in a car accident. The intended victim knew the scam and hung up before his “grandson” got around to asking for any money.
- A resident reported a call that her husband had won $2.5 million and that she needed to go to Walmart and buy a $500 money card. She said she was in fear because the caller said someone would be showing up at her door to give her the prize check. Police told her it was a scam, to not give anyone any money, and to call police immediately if any stranger did show up at her door.
Police warn that these common fraud schemes are often attempted against the elderly and suggest that family members make sure seniors are aware that under no circumstances should they be sending money to strangers.