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Massachusetts woman accused of stealing $20,000 from 75-year-old victim in online support scam

CONCORD, N.H. — A Massachusetts woman is accused of stealing $20,000 from a 75-year-old New Hampshire resident as part of an online support scam, the attorney general said Wednesday.

Rachel Chen, 25, of North Andover, Massachusetts, is charged with a single count of theft by deception, as principal/accomplice, Attorney General John Formella said in a statement. She is currently being held on charges of conspiracy to commit theft by deception and accomplice to commit theft by deception in Merrimack County for similar conduct.

Prosecutors allege that Chen, acting with one or more unknown persons, stole the victim’s money in a brazen scam targeting the elderly that falsely instructed the victim “to give cash to a person hired by the FBI,” Formella said.

A preliminary investigation found that the victim, a 75-year-old resident, received an e-mail purporting to be from Microsoft. The message indicated that her financial account had been compromised and provided her with a telephone number to call, Formella said.

The victim called the number and spoke with a person, who then forwarded her to another person, who purported to work for the victim’s bank, Formella said. That person then instructed the victim to withdraw $20,000 cash and tape it up in a box, which the victim did.

The victim was told that a person hired by the FBI would come to pick up the box, and the victim then turned over the box to a person matching Chen’s description, Formella said.

Chen faces a maximum penalty on each charge of 7 ½ to 15 years in the New Hampshire State Prison and a $4,000 fine.

Anyone who suspects elder abuse or financial exploitation of the elderly is urged to call local police or the Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services at 1-800-949-0470.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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