WINTHROP — Chief Terence M. Delehanty and the Winthrop Police Department are issuing a warning to residents about a telephone scam in which the caller is capable of spoofing the Town Hall’s main phone number.
Chief Delehanty warns that residents should NEVER give personal information, social security numbers or credit card numbers to people who call their homes or cell phones unsolicited.
A resident told police that she received a call on Thursday, Feb. 6, with the caller stating that they were from the Veteran’s Association and asking for donations. The resident did the right thing by immediately hanging up and notifying police.
“Winthrop Veteran’s Services, or any town department, will never call unsolicited and ask residents to give personal information over the phone,” Chief Delehanty said. “Do not engage these scammers, and do not give them any information that could be used to steal your money or identity. Just hang up.”
Common telephones scams that target residents — specifically seniors — 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.
If anyone has any questions or feels that they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call Winthrop Police at 617-846-1212.