• Cambridge boat club out $35K after falling victim to gift card scam

    By: Mike Saccone

    Updated:

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A Cambridge boat club is out more than $35,000 after falling victim to a gift card scam.

    The treasurer of the boat club, which is located on Cambridge Parkway, filed an incident report with police on Tuesday. 

    The treasurer reported a person with a British accent contacted him by phone in late July saying software on the club's computer needed to be upgraded or canceled. 

    The treasurer said he opted to cancel the software. The person on the phone told him he had to pay an $80 cancellation fee. 

    According to the treasurer, the person on the phone was somehow able to ‘hack' into the club's computer in order to facilitate the money transfer for the cancellation fee. 

    The treasurer later noticed the person on the phone transferred $8,000 instead of $80. 

    The treasurer told police when he called the person back to make them aware of the discrepancy, the person told them his department wasn't able to reverse the transaction. Instead, he gave the treasurer the name and phone numbers of another person he said could help. 

    The treasurer said the second person he contacted was able to convince him he needed to buy $8,000 in gift cards to reverse the transaction and get the club's $8,000 back.

    The treasurer said on July 31 he bought $4,000 in iTunes gift cards, $3,000 in Target gift cards and $3,000 in Walmart gift cards and relayed the serial numbers to the second person he contacted by phone. 

    Shortly after relaying the serial numbers, the treasurer said the person on the phone told him the gift cards weren't valid.

    The next day, August 1, the treasurer bought $4,000 in iTunes gift cards, $4,000 in Target gift cards and $2,000 in Walmart gift cards. 

    This time, the person on the phone told the treasurer ‘some' of the gift cards were no good. 

    On August 6, the treasurer bought another $6,000 in iTunes gift cards and $1,000 in Target gift cards. 

    The treasurer said when he informed the person on the phone he could no longer keep buying gift cards, the person on the phone told him he could send cash via UPS or FedEx. The treasurer did. 

    The treasurer said more than $35,000 in cash and gift cards were sent to the person on the phone. 

    The treasurer has since canceled the boat club's bank business checking account pending further investigations. 

    The name of the boat club was redacted by police. The only boat club Boston 25 News could find on Cambridge Parkway was the Charlesgate Yacht Club. No one answered the phone on Wednesday afternoon. An email to the club has gone unanswered. 

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