An excellent piece from Provincetown Police Chief Jim Golden:
Unfortunately, various money related “scams” continue to occur in our area. Some of these have been reported in the news. I wanted to provide some reminders for people on this subject.
As you may know, money scams have been occurring on Cape Cod for many years. Those responsible go about preying on unsuspecting individuals, many times the elderly. Unscrupulous people take advantage of a senior’s kind nature and can sometimes fool them into believing a sad story. The scammer’s goal is simple; obtain either quick cash or other personal information, such as bank account numbers.
Some reported victims have received calls from a person stating a family member was in an accident or even arrested in a foreign country. The victim is told their loved one (child, grandchild, etc.) is being held either on bail, against their will or even threatened with physical harm.
Money is to be sent immediately in order to insure the family member’s safety.
Large amounts of money can be requested, but often the scammers appear willing to negotiate.
These have been proven to be false, as the “captured” relative is soon located to be safe.
This activity obviously causes a great deal of concern for the call recipient.
It is also tax season and some people may receive a call from a person claiming to be from the IRS. The victim is told they owe more money in taxes and if they fail to send it in immediately, an arrest warrant will be issued for them. One of these calls mention a non-existent “Federal Student Tax” they claim is owed to the government. The IRS does not conduct business transactions in this manner and will never ask for money over the phone. If they do call for some reason, there are many ways to verify the calls authenticity, prior to giving any money or personal information.
Many of these scams ask for your money to be sent to places outside the United States. This should immediately raise a red flag. Others demand immediate payment of taxes or fees in the form of gift cards, such as green dot or even iTunes. Any legitimate company, especially government agencies, will never demand payment in this manner. The important thing to remember is not to conduct business transactions unless you are sure of the people and places you are dealing with. Be very cognizant of these occurrences and contact other family members or the police immediately for assistance if you are at all concerned.
When in doubt, protect your personal information and always ask a question to avoid becoming a victim.
As always, thank you for your support!
Chief of Police