Marblehead Police warn of ‘defense fund’ and ‘child/grandchild in jail’ scams

Photo by Marblehead Police Department

In a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday, the Marblehead Police Department warned residents of a group that is soliciting donations on the department’s behalf by posing as the “Marblehead Police Defense Fund.” 

The post stated that “The Marblehead Police Department DOES NOT solicit funds through third party sources” and urged residents to not provide any information or funds to these individuals/groups.

This post comes just days after a community notice was published on the department’s Facebook page regarding recent “child/grandchild in jail schemes” that many senior citizens have fallen victim to. 

“For many years now, people of all ages (but mostly senior citizens) from around the country, in Massachusetts and right here at home, have fallen prey to scam artists. We have been receiving intelligence from around the Commonwealth that these so-called “child/grandchild in jail schemes” are occurring with greater and alarming intensity than usual over the last two months,” the post read. 

In these scams, the victims are told that a family member has been arrested and needs a large sum of money to post bail and be released from custody “immediately.” The victims then withdraw a large amount of money from their account and then give the money to a “courier” who runs off with the stolen cash. Some victims are also told to send the money via UPS or FedEx.

The department is seeking help from local financial and shipping institutions to share the information with their employees “in the event a customer (especially a senior citizen) is requesting to withdraw a sudden, large sum of cash.” The department has also requested that the Facebook flier be posted in local banks and at ATM locations. 

In the post, Marblehead Police also said that if an employee is in doubt, they can call the police department where they can help in terms of talking with the customer, and making calls to the scammer or alleged detention center. 

“We are all in this together — we need to be wary, and to keep each other from falling victim,” the end of the post read. 

Any incidents should be reported to law enforcement. To contact the Marblehead Police, call (781) 631-1212. 

  • Ryan Vermette is the Item's Marblehead reporter. He graduated from Springfield College in 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications/Sports Journalism. While in school, he wrote multiple sports articles for the school newspaper, the Springfield Student, and joined Essex Media Group in August, 2022. Ryan is a college basketball fanatic and an avid Boston sports fan and in his free time, enjoys video games and Marvel movies.