NEWBURYPORT — City Marshal Mark Murray reports that the Newburyport Police Department received a report regarding an individual who had been contacted by phone by someone claiming to be a Newburyport police officer and who demanded money.
The individual reported that the person who had called said that he was an officer from the Newburyport Police Department and demanded $10,000 or else the victim would be arrested. During this incident, the scammer used the name of an active Newburyport police officer and spoofed a local phone number.
Residents should note that this scammer in particular had a middle eastern accent and their physical location was most likely out of this country.
“Oftentimes, scammers will target vulnerable populations such as the elderly and ask them to withdraw large sums of cash or purchase large amounts of gift cards,” City Marshal Murray said. “Residents should note that officers from the Newburyport Police Department will never call you regarding an arrest, nor demand money. Anyone who believes that they may have fallen victim to this scam is encouraged to contact us immediately.”
Newburyport police are also aware of a recent increase in scams that target residents by coaxing them into giving money by claiming a relative has been arrested and needs to be bailed out of police custody. These scammers have then instructed the victims to provide cash to a person posing as a courier or bail bondsman who arrives at their home to collect the money.
City Marshal Murray would like to make residents aware that bail is never picked up at someone’s house through a delivery service, nor is it requested via a wire service or prepaid debit cards. There have been reports of similar incidents in other communities recently. Arrests of relatives can be confirmed with the arresting police department or through the local district court clerk’s office.
The Massachusetts’s Attorney General’s Office provides these tips for residents to protect themselves from other scams and frauds:
- Do not give out your credit card information to someone calling over the phone.
- Do not give in to the pressure to make a decision immediately.
- If in doubt, do not give out your information. Report anyone claiming to be a government worker to local police.
- Monitor incoming calls. Do not pick up unknown numbers or random calls. If a call is important, the caller will leave a message.
- If you do pick up and learn it is a scam call, do not engage. Just hang-up.
If anyone has questions or feels like they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Newburyport Police Department at 978-462-4411.