William J. Smith, Chief of Police
300 South Franklin St.
Holbrook, MA 02343
For Immediate Release
Monday, March 18, 2019
Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Holbrook Police Warn Residents of Spoofing Scam Calls
HOLBROOK — Chief William Smith and the Holbrook Police Department would like residents to be aware of a phone scam involving a process called “spoofing,” along with some other phone and computer-based scams.
Spoofing is done when a person intentionally changes the phone number that appears on your Caller ID on your cell phone to something other than their own phone number. A person could change the contact that appears to be calling you to show “Holbrook Police” or “Middlesex County Sheriff.” The scammer then typically threatens the person who answers the phone with arrest if they fail to pay a large amount of money.
“We have been getting a lot of reports about these calls lately and it’s important for residents to know that the police department will never contact anyone directly seeking money for payment,” Chief Smith said.
Law enforcement agencies NEVER require fees or fines to avoid arrest. While fees and fines may be required to be paid to the courts (or for parking tickets/speeding tickets, etc.), police departments never collect or demand payment directly. If someone calls you attempting to extort money in order for you to avoid arrest they are not legitimate law enforcement agents.
If someone calls to collect on a debt or is seeking personal information, please remember that you can always hang up with them and call back on a phone number you know is correct or look up the number yourself.
Never give personal information to anyone over the phone or internet unless you are entirely sure who is on the other end.
Other common telephone and computer 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.
- 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 likely gone forever and cannot be recovered.
If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or would like more information about scams, please call the Holbrook Police Department business line at 781-767-1212.