New Canaan Police Help Elderly Resident Recover $145,000 Stolen in Scam


Two New Canaan police officers recently helped an elderly resident who been scammed out of $145,000 recover the money, officials said.

Police Chief Leon Krolikowski during last week’s Police Commission meeting spotlighted a letter of appreciation regarding the work that Officers Joseph Schinella and Owen Ochs did on what the chief called a “pretty exceptional” case.

“It’s a constant battle,” Krolikowski told members of the Police Commission during their Sept. 21 meeting, referring to scams that often target older residents.

Sgt. Thomas Callinan wrote in a letter commending the officers that was presented at the meeting to Police Commission Chair Paul Foley and Jim McLaughlin:

“I was recently informed that the victim in this case (82 year old resident) who was scammed out of $145,000 had the full amount returned to him! This was a coordinated effort on both of your parts, and I just wanted to acknowledge you guys for the great work. This is why we do what we do!”

In August, police responded to 13 identity theft-related calls, up from three in the year-ago month, according to statistics presented by Krolikowski at the meeting, held at department headquarters and via videoconference. Through the first eight months of the year, police have responded to 29 ID theft-related calls.

McLaughlin said, “I would imagine in these cases most people never get their money back.”

Krolikowski said it helps if police are informed immediately about the scam, though many are too embarrassed to report such incidents or to report them quickly.

McLaughlin asked what was the nature of the scam where the $145,000 was stolen and the chief and deputy chief said they did not know.

The chief regularly informs the community about new scams, and recently issued these tips:

  1. Never give personal information to unknown persons over the telephone or electronically.
  2. Be suspicious of unsolicited telephone calls, voice messages, text messages, and e-mails.
  3. Never communicate with these scammers and block the scammer’s telephone number and e-mail address.
  4. Never wire or send money in response to an unknown person who makes an unexpected demand.
  5. Contact our police department at 203-594-3500 for assistance and we will help.

7 thoughts on “New Canaan Police Help Elderly Resident Recover $145,000 Stolen in Scam

  1. Outstanding police work but hard to fathom how the chief nor deputy chief
    would not know the nature of a $145,000 scam. It certainly would be helpful for the community at large to know the details so they can avoid.

  2. To be clear, I AM NOT SAYING THIS HAPPENED IN THIS SCAM, I’m just sharing what happened to a friend so I’m sharing with you: “BEWARE, Don’t fall this very sophisticated debit card scam. Here’s how it goes: got a call, the caller ID was my bank. The guy says he’s from the fraud dept, calling about my debit card ending in —-(the 4 correct numbers), and asks if i’d been traveling, reports 2 suspicious charges that happened at out-of-state stores (Lowe’s and Walmart). I said nope, wasn’t me. He says they’ll send me a new card. He knows my address. He knows all my phone numbers. He sends a verification code to my cell and asks me to read it to him. THEN HE ASKS FOR MY PIN NUMBER, so he can deactivate it. That’s where I said “no.” But he has an answer for my suspicions: he says look at the number I’m calling from, it matches the number on the back of your card. It does! But still, then I said let me call you back and he hung up! I reported this to my bank’s fraud dept, who said WE WOULD NEVER ASK FOR YOUR PIN NUMBER. (And immediately cancelled my card.) They also said this is the new scam, they’re hearing about it a lot. Tell everyone!
    I knew also right away because as I was on the call… I checked with my identity protection service because I would have gotten an alert from my service before this call ever came.”

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