Chief James McIntyre
47 Central Street
Stoneham, MA 02180-2044
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Stoneham Police Department Caution Residents Against Phone Scams
STONEHAM– Chief James McIntyre and the Stoneham Police Department would like to warn residents about ongoing phone and online scams in the community and remind residents to never give out their personal and financial information to a person they do not know.
Stoneham Police received multiple reports of residents being scammed into wiring money through pre-paid store or iTunes gift cards last weekend.
Over the weekend, Stoneham Police received reports of two residents who had collectively purchased nearly $5,000 in iTunes and store gift cards as part of scams. One scam conned the resident into thinking that the gift card was needed as a front for a loan fee, while the other threatened that a family member had been arrested and the gift card was needed as part of his bail.
“It is hard for anyone to accept they’re the victim of a scam and they’ve lost their money, but, as scams become more prevalent and more convincing, it is increasingly common,” Chief McIntyre said. “We are striving to educate our residents on the best ways to protect themselves and their money.”
If a victim gives away a pre-paid debit card number or makes a wire transfer or money order, the money is gone and lost forever, and there is usually no way to recover those funds.
If you receive a call from an IRS scammer, hang up. Do not engage with these callers.
Common scams that target residents – specifically senior citizens – include:
- IRS Impostors: Callers contact you demanding immediate payment for back taxes.
- Undisclosed Fees: Scam lenders will say you’ve been approved for a loan, then demand an extra fee before you can get the money.
- Arrested Relative: Scammers contact you claiming that a friend or relative has been arrested and needs bail money.
- Sweepstakes: Someone calls to notify you that you have won a contest or sweepstakes and must send money to collect any winnings.
- Tech Support: Someone contacts you claiming your computer needs repairs and to send money for service.
These scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-8400.
Anyone who has questions, concerns, or believes they are the victim of a scam is asked to contact Stoneham Police at 781-438-1215.