Arlington Health and Human Services and Arlington Police Warn Residents About Telephone Scam

Arlington Health and Human Services
Christine Bongiorno, Director
27 Maple St.
Arlington, MA 02474
Arlington Police Department
Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474

 

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Arlington Health and Human Services and Arlington Police Warn Residents About Telephone Scam

ARLINGTON — Arlington Health and Human Services and the Arlington Police Department would like to alert residents about a telephone scam in which the caller is capable of spoofing the Department of Health and Human Services phone number.

Several residents have reported that someone is calling from what appears to be the Arlington Health and Human Services phone number, 781-316-3170, and asking for personal information about health insurance and social security numbers.

The Health and Human Services Department will never randomly call you to ask for health insurance information, social security numbers or financial information. If you are suspicious of the caller, hang up immediately and call the Health and Human Services Department directly.

Arlington Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiorno and Police Chief Frederick Ryan urge residents to NEVER give personal information to people who call their homes or cell phones unsolicited.

“The Health and Human Services Department will never call and ask residents to give personal information over the phone,” Bongiorno said. “If you believe you may have been a victim of this type of scam or if you receive this type of call, please report it to police immediately.”

Other common telephones scams that target residents include:

  • IRS Impostors: Callers contact you demanding immediate payment for back taxes.
  • Arrested Relative: Scammers contact you claiming that a friend or relative has been arrested and needs bail money.
  • Kidnapped Relative:  Scammers call to report a friend or relative has been kidnapped and a ransom must be paid.
  • Threatened Arrest: Scammers call to tell you that you are subject to arrest (by a variety of different agencies: U.S. Marshals, FBI, etc.) and must pay to avoid arrest.
  • Utility Scam: Scammers pose as bill collectors from utility companies and threaten to shut off service if you do not pay.
  • Sweepstakes: Someone calls to notify you that you have won a contest or sweepstakes and must send money to collect any winnings.
  • Tech Support/Malware: Someone contacts you claiming your computer needs repairs and to send money for service or asks to connect to your computer. Additionally, a pop-up can appear on your computer, stating that it is infected with malware, and to call a number to pay to remove the virus.

In many of these calls, the scammer demands payment via electronic money order or pre-paid debit card. This should be an immediate red flag. No legitimate vendor will ever demand money via these means. Sending money via money order, or pre-paid debit card is as good as sending cash, and if money is sent to a criminal, it is gone forever and cannot be recovered.

“We are reminding residents to never give out any personal information out over the phone,” Chief Ryan said. “No matter how convincing these scammers may seem, if you receive a call from someone asking for your information or demanding money, hang up and call police.”

If anyone has any questions or feels that they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call Arlington Police at 781-643-1212.

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