Stop Scams and Fraud | NEW SCAMS - Updated December 2014
if it sounds too good to be true, it is!
Avoid Becoming A Victim!
Due to the increase in scams in our area the Nahant Police Department has compiled a list of scams and information on how to avoid becoming a victim.
Updated information is available here on our website as well as at the Nahant Police station. If you believe you are the victim of a scam please contact the Nahant Police at (781) 581-1212
Grandparent Scam | December 2014
Lowell Man Found Guilty of "Grandparent Telephone Scam," Bilking Elders Out of More Than $80,000
WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced that a Lowell man was convicted today of charges in connection with an elaborate “grandparent scam” in which he conned people into sending him money to pay bail for their grandchildren who were supposedly being held on criminal charges.
A Middlesex County Superior Court jury, which began hearing evidence in the case on December 8, convicted Mohammed Khan, AKA Mohammed Kann, 36, oflarceny over $250 from a person over the age of sixty (seven counts) and being a common and notorious thief in Middlesex Superior Court. Judge Diane Kottmyer, calling the scam “diabolical,” sentenced the defendant to four to five years in state prison, five years probation to commence at the expiration of the active prison sentence, and to make restitution to the victims of $81,000.
“This case is so heart-wrenching because good kind people gave part of their life savings because they were tricked into thinking they were helping a loved one,” said District Attorney Ryan said. “All of us should stress to senior citizens in our lives that they should reach out if they get a call from someone looking for money for any reason at all. Scam artists routinely prey on older adults. This case is a cautionary example that people need to be thorough when presented with sudden emergencies about which they are urged to send cash money to distant locations on short notice. People need to verify such emergencies to avoid being victimized by smooth-talking con artists.”
According to authorities, in February 2014, the defendant, using unlisted phone numbers and some that had Quebec area codes, called four residents of Utah and Texas and notified them that their grandchildren had been arrested and that they urgently needed bail money to be released from jail.
Evidence presented in court showed that to further this scheme, an initial call was made by the “grandchild” telling their grandparent that they had been arrested, were in custody, and needed money to make bail. This call was then followed up by another, purportedly by someone who was helping the grandchild to make the bail arrangements. In each instance, the recipient of the call was directed to send cash overnight to various addresses in Lowell to effectuate this bail transaction. Evidence also presented to the court showed that the defendant retrieved the overnight shipments of cash at the specified addresses. An investigation by Lowell Police Department Detective Gary Dillon identified the defendant as the person receiving the cash-filled packages which had been addressed to bogus recipients. In addition, a FedEx employee delivering the packages described for the jury the individual who received packages and the description of the individual matched that of Khan.
Attorney General Coakley Urges Donors To Beware of Scams:
Attorney General Martha Coakley on Wednesday reminded those who want to give to support victims of the Boston Marathon attacks to do their homework first to ensure the charity is reputable. More than 125 website domain names relating to the Boston Marathon explosions were registered within a few hours of the attacks Monday, according to Consumer Affairs Undersecretary Barbra Anthony. Fraudulent websites have popped up in the aftermath of other national tragedies, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown. Coakley warned would-be donors to protect themselves from fundraising scams by making sure any websites they visit match a registered charity and to beware of professional fundraisers who try to make their solicitations sound like they are coming directly from the charity itself or volunteers. Coakley's office offered a handful of tips, including getting to know the charity by taking time to verify the address, phone number, and contact information and reviewing the website and written material. When possible, consider the charity's history. Be wary of appeals that are "long on emotion," according to Coakley's office. A legitimate charity will tell donors how it's using the money after a disaster. Do not pay cash and never give a credit card number to a fundraiser over the phone. Websites likeCharitynavigator.org and BBB.org/charity help donors get additional information on a particular charity.
National Grid Scam: Once again National Grid customers in New England are being targeted by utility bill scammers demanding immediate payment for electric bill balances, which customers might not even owe. The fraudulent callers are claiming to be from National Grid and threatening customers with immediate service shut-off unless they provide credit card or bank account information that can be used to access the accounts.
There have been numerous reports of these types of scams in several states over the past year and National Grid continues to advise customers to be wary of any caller who threatens service immediate service termination unless an immediate payment is made.
National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options and to remind them that service shutoff is a possibility if they fail to pay their past due balance. If customers wish, they can arrange for a payment by check, credit card or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative. Payment can also be made by credit card or debit card without a representative's assistance.
Customers should verify they are speaking with a National Grid representative. One way to do this is to commit to memory the last five digits of their National Grid account number to memory and ask the caller to provide those numbers. If the caller can't provide the information, if you doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, or if have any questions about your balance, hang up immediately and call our customer contact center at (800) 322-3223.
Financial Scams: The Nahant Police Department had received numerous reports of citizens being contacted by Phone or mail with stories that sound too good to be true and they are. Scammers are becoming more and more active in the endeavors to take your hard earned money.
If you are contacted by phone or in person ask questions about the business and if it seems to good to be true contact the Police Station. The Town of Nahant has a Solicitor by-law that requires any person wishing to solicit in the town to check-in at the Police station.
The Nahant Police then perform background checks for crimes and obtain information on what service is being offered as well as where they will be soliciting. If someone gives you a call or comes to your house call the police before giving any of your personal information to see if you are being scammed.
Nahant Police: 781-581-1212
Scams That Are Active In Our Area!
Paving Scam: A “construction” truck will pull up in front of your house and a man will knock on your door saying that his company has extra asphalt and is willing to pave your driveway at a discounted price. The person will be aggressive and use this tactic to confuse and intimidate you. This is a scam you are not getting a deal and there is never “extra asphalt”.
If you agree to the work what will likely happen is work will begin very suddenly. During the “construction” the person will come to you and say that there was a mistake or extra work is required to complete the project and say that the cost has increased by thousands. they will threaten to stop the work until you pay. If you pay by check the conman will deposit it within minutes so you cannot cancel the check.
This types of scams happen often in this area and occur mostly in the spring and summer. These conmen generally target senior citizens. If you are contacted by someone trying to pave your driveway do not let them in your house and contact the Police. Remember all solicitors must check in with the Nahant Police.
Financial Scams: This scam is targeted towards seniors. A person will call claiming to be setting up visits through Medicare. They generally will already have your basic information such as name and address. They will then attempt to “Confirm” you identity by asking for your personal information such as social security number and date of birth.
Remember Medicare does NOT send people to your home. Never give out your personal information over the phone. If someone calls claiming to be from Medicare or other such business or organization and asks for your personal information hang up and call back on a phone number you know is accurate for that company.
Kidnapping Scam: This scam will start with you receiving a phone call stating that a family member was involved in an accident and that “they” have your loved one and will only let them go if you pay them. When you receive the call the caller will already have information about either you and or your loved one they will know just enough to make you believe its real. This type of scam has become more present as the amount of personal information that is shared on social networks has increased.
What to do when you receive the call:
Write down the number that called you, Attempt to gain as much information about your loved one such as what they were wearing, driving, and were the incident occurred. Ask for specific information, this may prompt the scammer to hang up. Remember they will your pressure and aggression to excite and confuse you. Save any text messages or pictures that the suspected kidnapper sent you. CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY and DO NOT meet the kidnapper to exchange money.
To protect yourself from this type of scam update your privacy setting on your social media sites.
IRS Scam: The Internal Revenue Service recently warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
Other characteristics of this scam include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security Number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or think you might own taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help with a payment issues (if there really is such an issue).
- If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
- If you've been targeted by this scam, call the Nahant Police Department at (781) 581-1212 to report the call.
- If you've been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message.
Instead, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.
The above has been adapted from an official release from the IRS. To see the full official release, please follow this link: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Warns-of-Pervasive-Telephone-Scam
Know of a new scam? Drop us a line. Or call the Nahant Police Department
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