Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, Billerica Police Chief Daniel Rosa, and Concord Police Joseph F. O’Connor are teaming up to warn area residents about scams that have popped up with the recent snow storms, targeting unsuspecting seniors.
A group of men from Maine are suspected in two different types of scams that have been reported to police recently.
In the latest scam, the men are conning elderly and ill residents out of thousands of dollars by offering snow removal services.
The scam is almost exactly the same as a series of tree removal scams that have also been popping up this year.
The methods are the same in both scams. The men offer to remove snow or remove fallen or unwanted trees from the resident’s yard. Once the men do a minimal amount of work, they get aggressive and try to get the resident to pay them thousands of dollars before they get suspicious or think better of it.
“Always be on guard when someone you do not know knocks on your door offering services,” Chief Bongiorno said. “Demand to see their proof of insurance and business license, and never pay cash.”
“When in doubt, call the police right away,” Chief Rosa added. “These con men are picking out the oldest and most vulnerable residents of our communities, and we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
If you believe you have been a victim of such a scam, you are urged to call your local Police or this scam can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ or the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-8400 or electronically at http://www.eform.ago.state.ma.us/ago_eforms/forms/piac_ecomplaint.action.
“We want to get the word out so that our residents will be on guard for these men before they can steal money from anyone else,” Chief O’Connor said. “Don’t let yourself, your neighbors, or your relatives become victims.”
Another scam that is cropping up at this time of year is a well-known IRS scam where callers have reported receiving phone calls and were told by an “agent” that they owe money to the IRS and that they must pay immediately through a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The “agent” tells the victim that if they do not cooperate, they will be arrested, deported, or their business license or driver’s license would be suspended.
The caller often intimidates the victim with hostility and insulting statements.
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue. The IRS will never demand payment immediately via a pre-paid debit card of wire transfer, EVER.
The IRS generally notifies taxpayers of unpaid taxes via USPS mail, not telephone calls.
If anyone has any questions, they should call the Bedford Police Department at 781-275-1212, the Billerica Police Department at 978-667-1212, or the Concord Police Department at 978-318-3400.