Police News

Scam Alerts: Fake Police Charity Calls, Shoddy Asphalt Jobs

MA Businesses Warned Not to Fall For New ‘Police’ Phone Scam

Businesses in Massachusetts are being warned of a new telephone scam, which is currently targeting offices throughout the US.

CPR Call Blocker, makers of the best selling call blocking device in the USA, is urging businesses in Massachusetts to hang up if someone claiming to be a local police officer phones encouraging you to make a donation to a community cause you have allegedly supported in the past.

The scam involves a business receiving a call from a person (usually a male) claiming to be a local police officer. He begins by asking for a company director by name and then asks a series of questions about whether or not there have been any problems with anti-social behaviour in the area lately. This is a tactic to build a rapport with whoever answers the phone and display a level of knowledge of the local area to make them appear genuine.

After lulling businesses in to a false sense of security with a seemingly sound knowledge of the area and the names of the company directors, the call then takes a sinister turn. The caller goes on to ask whether or not the business will be continuing to support a local police community publication with a small donation, just as they have done in the past. An apparent “colleague” of the caller then calls within ten minutes of the original call asking for payment. Yet when challenged to provide a telephone number so he can be called back, he claims to have forgotten his number.

Kris Hicks of CPR Call Blocker is urging businesses in Massachusetts to be wary of unsolicited calls asking for donations: “The issue with this type of scam is that people in businesses could easily be tricked in to thinking that they have supported a cause like this in the past. As many local businesses often give back to their communities through charitable donations, scams like these can be easy to fall for.

“The additional problem with calls like these is that people are naturally more inclined to trust a call that they receive from someone in a position of authority, such as a policeman. However, the police will not ask for money over the phone.

“The use of official records, which are easily available, says it all and people should be warned that knowledge of these details is no guarantee that the caller is legitimate.”

Mr Hicks continued: “In the meantime, we would advise businesses in Massachusetts to be vigilant against these types of calls and suggest they never make a donation over the phone to an unsolicited caller without verifying the caller. This can be done by asking for their full name, job title and telephone number so you can check it out. We would also advise businesses to be aware of all the causes that they have supported in the past so that they cannot be fooled in to donating to fake causes.”

– Submitted by CPR Call Blocker

Arlington Police Warn Residents of Asphalt Scams After Woman Falls Victim

Chief Frederick Ryan and the Arlington Police Department are warning the community of asphalt scams after a resident lost thousands of dollars for a paving job.

“Unfortunately, we tend to see an increase in this type of fraudulent activity as the weather gets warmer and residents start projects on their homes and property,” Chief Ryan said. “Always do everything you can to make sure you’re hiring a reputable contractor with a proven track record in the community, and remember that if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Our rule of thumb is that if the thought crosses your mind that you think you need the police, you need the police, contact us right away. We’d rather be called and not needed rather than not called and needed.’

Some common characteristics of asphalt scams include:

– An individual who claims to be an asphalt contractor will go from house to house, knocking on doors, saying they have extra materials from another job.

– The scammer will generally try to pressure victims into the service and offer to do the work for an extremely low price, many times asking for the money up-front.

– After the work is completed, if it’s even completed at all, the scammer then demands more money from the victim — often hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than the quoted price.

– The work completed in these situations is usually not of workmanship quality.

To avoid these types of scams:

– Always make sure the company you’re working with is legitimate and you are hiring a licensed contractor.

– Talk to a family member or friend to discuss the details before making any financial commitments or payments.

– Never pay in full for the work up-front. Always get a receipt for your payment and avoid paying cash if possible.

– Take your time and do research before hiring a contractor and use a company that has a good reputation.

Scams of all kinds are an important and ongoing issue in Arlington. Yesterday, Chief Ryan and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan spoke at the Arlington Retired Men’s Club meeting about scam prevention.

If you think you may have fallen victim to this or any type of scam, contact Arlington Police at 781-643-1212.

– Submitted by Arlington Police

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