Package thefts are crimes of opportunity. The Billerica Police Department would like to remind citizens to take extra care this time of year when having mail and packages delivered to their residence. Package thefts from doorstops and front porches during the day usually increase between the months of October and January. There are steps you can take to be proactive in keeping your package safe from theft.
Encourage family and neighbors to pick up packages as soon as possible after they are delivered.
Track your packages. Try to be present at the time of delivery. Many mail carriers allow you to track your shipment online or receive email or text messages once deliveries are made:
Thieves will follow or watch for FedEx, UPS, US Mail and other delivery trucks and then target a home after a delivery is made. To reduce the chances of being victimized by package delivery thieves, the Billerica Police Department offers the following advice:
- Choose a shipping option that requires you to sign for delivery.
- Arrange to have the package shipped to another location where someone can receive it. This could be your workplace, a friend or relative’s home, the leasing office at your apartment complex or even the local “mailbox” business that may agree to accept shipment of your item for a fee.
- Ask the delivery service to hold your package for customer pick-up at their local shipping facility.
- If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery. If the item was delivered and you did not receive it, report the theft or loss to the original company, the shipping company, and the Billerica Police Department at 978-667-1212.
- Many of these crimes occur during broad daylight. As always, be alert about suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, especially if you see a delivery truck making the rounds and a vehicle following behind or unfamiliar subjects on foot. Be prepared to call the Billerica Police Department at 978-667-1212 to report this type of suspicious activity or call 911 if you observe a crime in progress.
Your calls can have an impact on crime and criminals. Please continue to partner to prevent crime.
The Billerica Police Department has taken numerous reports this year involving scams amounting to thousands of dollars in losses to residents. Many of these scams involve the use of Green Dot MoneyPak cards, MyVanilla reload cards, Paypal prepaid cards and others.
The Green Dot MoneyPak is a cash reload product that can be used to reload a prepaid debit card, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account or to make same-day payments to major companies.
Green Dot Corporation, the maker of MoneyPak, warns consumers to only use their MoneyPak number with businesses on their approved list and if anyone else asks for your MoneyPak number or information it’s probably a scam.
These are some common scams using MoneyPak cards as payment methods:
Grandparent Scam – Scenarios from the FBI
- A grandparent receives a phone call (or sometimes an e-mail) from a “grandchild.” If it is a phone call, it’s often late at night or early in the morning when most people aren’t thinking that clearly. Usually, the person claims to be traveling in a foreign country and has gotten into a bad situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in a car accident, or being mugged…and needs money wired ASAP. And the caller doesn’t want his or her parents told.
- Sometimes, instead of the “grandchild” making the phone call, the criminal pretends to be an arresting police officer, a lawyer, a doctor at a hospital, or some other person. And we’ve also received complaints about the phony grandchild talking first and then handing the phone over to an accomplice…to further spin the fake tale
- We’ve also seen military families victimized: after perusing a soldier’s social networking site, a con artist will contact the soldier’s grandparents, sometimes claiming that a problem came up during military leave that requires money to address.
- While it’s commonly called the grandparent scam, criminals may also claim to be a family friend, a niece or nephew, or another family member.
Utility Company – Scenario from AARP
- The callers claim to be billing representatives from your utility company but are actually crooks looking for a quick payoff. They tell you that to avoid an immediate shutoff, you need to settle an overdue bill by providing them with your credit card number or a prepaid debit card (MoneyPak).
Internal Revenue Service Scam – Scenario from IRS
- Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card (MoneyPak) or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
Secret or Mystery Shopper Scam - Scenario from the Federal Trade Commission
You may have heard about people who are “hired” to be mystery shoppers, and told that their first assignment is to evaluate a money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram. The shopper receives a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account, withdraw the amount in cash, and wire it to a third party. The check is a fake.
By law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. It may seem that the check has cleared and that the money has posted to the account, but when the check turns out to be a fake, the person who deposited the check and wired the money will be responsible for paying back the bank.
It’s never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back.
Tech Support Scam – Scenario from the Federal Trade Commission
- The latest version of the scam begins with a phone call. Scammers can get your name and other basic information from public directories. They might even guess what computer software you’re using. Once they have you on the phone, they often try to gain your trust by pretending to be associated with well-known companies or confusing you with a barrage of technical terms. They may ask you to go to your computer and perform a series of complex tasks. Sometimes, they target legitimate computer files and claim that they are viruses. Their tactics are designed to scare you into believing they can help fix your “problem.” These scams often ask you to give them remote access to your computer and then make changes to your settings that could leave your computer vulnerable. They may also attempt to enroll you in a worthless warranty or ask you for a credit card or pre paid debit (MoneyPak) so they can bill you for phony services. In addition, you may even be tricked into installing malware on your computer or be directed to a malicious website.
In all of these scams the victim is often instructed to go to a local store and purchase green dot cards and call the suspect back. The victim is then instructed to read the MoneyPak number(s) back to the suspect. This gives the suspect immediate access to the money and there is no way to recover it. Suspects often use phone numbers with an official looking caller ID to appear legitimate.
We encourage residents to report these crimes to the Police Department.
The Billerica Police Department encourages you to “Make the Right Call”– Never Drink and Drive! To show your commitment to staying safe, “Like” the Make the Right Call Facebook page for a chance to win a VIP New England Sports Experience. See New England play Buffalo on December 28th in Foxboro and the Bruins play Detroit on December 29th at The Garden, and meet The Sports Hub Broadcasters! Like here: https://www.facebook.com/maketherightcallma .
Detectives from the Lowell Police Department’s Special Investigation Section stopped a motor vehicle yesterday morning around 11:45am and seized more than a kilo of Cocaine and over $87,000.00 cash. With the assistance of the Billerica Police K9 Unit, two sophisticated ‘hides’ were located inside the Toyota that yielded the drugs and money. The stop was the result of an investigation into information received via the department’s social media complaining about possible drug dealing at 99 W. Sixth St. Police Superintendent William Taylor lauded the efforts of the Special Investigation Section, which is tasked with illegal narcotic and gang investigations. “This is an outstanding arrest that results in the disruption of a significant cocaine trafficking operation in the city.” Arrested and charged with Trafficking Cocaine is Elias Escarraman, age 31 from Connecticut. He will be arraigned in Lowell District Court this morning.
Billerica – On October 11 at approximately 8:30 p.m., Officers were dispatched to the area of Whiting Street, for a report of a Burglary in progress. A resident reported that they were home when they heard their dog barking inside the house. Upon investigating the disturbance, the resident confronted an unknown male suspect in an unoccupied bedroom who was allegedly rummaging through a jewelry box. The suspect, who later was identified as David McKenna (DOB 9/28/78), engaged in a brief struggle with the resident and fled the area. The resident was not physically injured during the confrontation. The resident was able to give officers a physical description of the suspect as well as the type of clothing he was wearing. Further, the resident reported that the suspect fled to the area of Richardson Street. Officers searched the area and were able to apprehend the suspect in the area of Pages Court and Richardson Street. David McKenna is being charged with Aggravated Burglary Chapter 266 s 14 and Larceny from a Building Chapter 266 s 20. Mr. McKenna is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
McKenna is also a suspect of several other Burglaries and charges are pending.
Any additional questions should be directed to Deputy Chief Roy Frost, 978-667-1212 x151
At approximately 12:00 this afternoon, we received a report that teachers and students within a classroom at Billerica Memorial High School simultaneously reported not feeling well, with headache symptoms. The classroom was immediately evacuated to outside the building and public safety personnel were called in response to a potential carbon monoxide leak.
Within minutes, police, fire, and paramedic personnel arrived on scene and proceeded consistent with our emergency response protocols. The classroom in question was checked for carbon monoxide and other issues, and no evidence of a hazard was found. Students’ health was checked by fire and paramedic personnel, as well as our own nursing staff, and all students were cleared to return to class.
Billerica Memorial High School administrative staff will be reaching out by phone to all families of students directly involved in this afternoon’s event, and will be sending out a general email to high school families later this afternoon.
We would like to thank the Billerica Fire and Police Departments for their immediate response, and as always, for their professionalism and dedication to keeping our students safe.
If you have further questions, I encourage you to contact my office at (978)528-7908.
Timothy G. Piwowar
Superintendent of Schools