Police Spotlight: Fraud and ID theft on the rise

March 16, 2012
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Fraud and identity theft complaints in Jamaica Plain have been on the rise over the past three months. Seniors are especially being targeted. The frauds involve credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, bank checks and unfulfilled promises to provide services, among other scams.

In one case, on March 11, a scammer pretending to be from the cable company Comcast called a JP man and offered a special deal if he bought a prepaid card from Walmart for over $500 and then gave the card info to the caller. When the victim did so, the scammer tried to get him to buy another card, then hung up when he refused. The scammer’s phone line was out of service after that.

The following information should not be given out over the phone or to strangers: Your name, address, date of birth, driver’s license information, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name and any account number.

Never send money to someone you do not know, especially as an advance payment.

Telephone and mail offers that come without your request are often a scam. “Winner notifications” for contests you did not enter are always a scam. To block telemarketers, join the “do not call” list by calling 1-866-231-2255.

If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that you did not initiate, do not give any information to the caller. Contact the company the caller represented at a number you know is legitimate.

Shred any documents containing personal or financial information before discarding them. Promptly get your mail from the mailbox, and place outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox instead of in your home mailbox.

If you have any tips about local scams, contact JP’s District E-13 Detective Investigations Unit at 617-343-5628. For more crime prevention info, contact the E-13 Community Service Office at 617-343-5624.

Information courtesy District E-13 Community Service Office.

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