For immediate release

MELROSE — The Melrose Police Department would like to warn of an increasingly common type of scam that uses impersonated email addresses and phone numbers in an attempt to trick businesses and consumers. 

Melrose Police recently began investigating an incident in which a local business franchise received a call that appeared to be from the company’s corporate offices. The caller said they needed credit card information to ship some stock to the store, so an assistant manager provided their personal credit card information. That well-meaning individual lost $500 before realizing the call was a scam. 

Such scams, which are known as “spoofing,” involve scammers using deliberately falsified phone numbers, email addresses or websites so they can appear to be from a legitimate source, possibly even within your own company. 

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center — which tracks online scams nationwide — spoofing scams victimized about 28,000 people nationwide in 2020, with victims reporting over $215 million in losses as a result.

Even the FBI has recently been spoofed, with some scammers impersonating federal agents in scams. 

The FBI says that while phone numbers and email addresses may appear to be from authorities or people you know, the person or persons behind those messages could be anywhere in the world. 

“These scammers rely upon their ability to impersonate someone you trust, whether it be…

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