If you read the Dedham Police Logs on Patch, it seems that every other week another resident is getting scammed. The Dedham Police Department is offering some tips that can help prevent you from getting scammed.
Dedham Police describe certain situations to look out for:
Offers to Lower Your Interest Rates. The calls begin with a recording that makes a tempting offer to lower your credit-card interest rates. Then you are switched to a live agent who collects from you the credit card number and its expiration, name, address, and in some cases even your social security number. The telemarketers have no intention of giving consumers better interest rates on their cards and instead use the information to commit identity theft and run up unwanted charges.
Fake Bank Alert Messages. A fake message from a local bank says that your
card is being suspended and that you need to call this toll free number to activate it. Of course, the toll free number does not belong to the bank and when you call they ask to verify your account information, which includes your name, date of birth, SSN, address, credit card number, etc. Once they have your personal information, they can use it to commit identity theft charging your existing credit cards, opening new credit card, checking, or savings accounts, writing fraudulent checks, or taking out loans in your name. If you have a question about your bank account, contact your bank directly.
Another phone scam that has been reported in Dedham in the last week, involves calls from “Prize Distribution Centers” that claim that you are the winner in sweepstakes or a lottery. Of course, you are not the only “winner” in the lottery and tens of thousands of people received the same call. The goal of the scheme is to entice you to make a relatively small payment often by purchasing a gift card (to cover, shipping and handling fee, a sales tax) promising that a much bigger prize will be sent your way.
Once the payment is sent, you will most likely not hear from the company again, and the promised prize never arrives.
Another scam involves being sent a check. Often this involves sellers on sites such as Craigslist. The buyer sends you a check and then e-mails or calls and says they sent you the wrong check in error. Typically the check that is sent is for more money than the items that is being sold. The buyer asks that you keep the check and send them the balance.
Several days later the bank reports that the check is no good and you are out the money. A similar twist on this is you are sent a check for winning a sweepstake. The sender asks for you send them money because you owe taxes on your winnings. Once again several days later the bank reports to you that the check is no good.
There are several different phone, e-mail and postal scams. Do not give out personal information over the phone, or via e-mail. If it sounds too good to be true than it probably is!