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Heat spawns fraud in city surrounded by reality

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Three cases of financial fraud including identity theft were reported by the City of Madison Police Department (MPD) during this week of record temperatures. The excessive heat kept the crooks indoors to conjure cool scams to penetrate the reality shield surrounding the city’s 77 square miles.

The first report involves a senior citizen where social engineering was used to trip her out of $3,000. Madison’s reality shield was apparently pierced by foreign crooks. The report says,

“Foreign crooks tried to dupe an 85-year old Madison woman out of more cash yesterday, but this time the victim called family to make sure her grandson was okay. He was. The caller had told her that he was arrested for drugs in South America, and he needed money. The phone request was similar to another the woman received last Friday. In the first call, she was told her grandson had smashed into another car while driving drunk in Uruguay. She fell for the scam, and wired $3,000 via Western Union. The next day she called and learned her grandson was home in Chicago, which is where he was again yesterday.”

The second situation is reminiscent of a series of telephone scams involving social engineering and a local utility company. Do you want your electricity turned off in this weather? Of course not, and that’s how the interaction is engineered to get the victims to react. Read this,

"The MPD is investigating a series of similar fraud cases. All involve phone calls where criminals try to convince people they are behind in MG&E utility bill payments. Victims are told power will be cut off if they don't send funds immediately. Several recent calls were placed to downtown businesses. In one case, a store owner did load nearly $500 on a Green Dot Moneypak card, which he obtained at Walgreens. He was instructed to call "MG&E" at 608-721-0610 and provide an "MG&E" representative with the card's 14-digit code. He did this, and then realized he had probably just got scammed. The victim looked up a legitimate number for MG&E and learned that similar frauds are currently taking place in the community. A MPD detective, who is working these cases, has traced the above phone number to Puerto Rico."

You don’t have to live in Madison, to get scammed in Madison. Some crooks operate within the reality shield. This report involving identity theft says this Kentucky man got scammed for over $8,500 in a Madison mall.

"A Kentucky man contacted the MPD Monday after learning he was the victim of identity theft. He has never been to Madison, but his credit report shows someone using his identification took out several credit cards and used them here. He learned of 3 significant Madison transactions: one for $2,476 at West Towne's OfficeMax on July 6th, one for $2,905 at Walmart on July 7th, and one for $3,160 at Sam's Club on July 7th. There is a photograph of a possible suspect.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers. To submit a tip

  • Call: (608) 266-6014
  • Text: "DANE" plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES), or
  • Online

What the City of Madison needed this past week was a heat shield rather than the illusion of a reality shield. Reality is in Madison, it’s often masked with rhetoric and eyes-wide-shut mass mindset. The victims of these crimes know reality.