Billerica Police Partner with Local Businesses to Prevent Scams Involving Wire Transfers

BILLERICA — Chief Daniel Rosa reports that the Billerica Police Department has partnered with local businesses to help prevent fraud involving wire transfers.

Police have received multiple reports of residents being scammed into wiring money through Western Union, MoneyGram, Green Dot and more. Some of the scenarios the department has seen recently include:

• An individual lost $3,340 after he was contacted by an alleged representative from the IRS and told he owed past tax money. If he did not pay it, the IRS “agent” said he would be subject to arrest/criminal charges.
• A man was contacted by a person claiming to be from a computer support company, “Superior Tech Help,” who told him they owed him $400, but accidentally credited him $4,000. The caller told the victim to wire two separate transactions totaling $3,600 to recipients in China.
• One resident lost $1,800 after receiving a call from someone pretending to be the person’s grandson who said he was in police custody out of state and needed bail money.
• A citizen lost $1,790 after being contacted by a person claiming to be a public defender who stated the person’s grandson was involved in a serious car crash where he was arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Liquor and needed bail money.
• An individual lost over $2,000 after he receieved an unsolicited package containing a check for $2,485.50, along with a survey. The package contained instructions to complete the survey and then wire three separate money orders to various recipients. The victim was told he should keep a portion of the money as compensation for taking the survey.

“It is extremely upsetting for residents, especially our older generation, when they learn they’re a victim of a scam and their money is lost and gone forever,” Chief Rosa said. “Please remember that the police or IRS will never ask you for a wire transfer or call you threatening an arrest.”

To help prevent similar instances from reoccurring, police have partnered with Rite Aid, K-Mart, CVS, Walgreens and 7-Eleven to place scam alert flyers near their wiring services.

The flyer urges customers to take a moment to consider their transaction and to confirm they are not being scammed by contacting police.

Additionally, with the assistance of the printing department of the Shawsheen Regional Technical High School, police have created scam alert advisory sheets to provide to customers when completing a money wire transaction at their partner stores.

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14 year old Juvenile Apprehended in Area Car Breaks

BPD PatchBillerica – On Friday, January 22, 2016, at approximately 1:30 AM, Billerica Police identified a suspect breaking into a motor vehicle in the area of 220 Salem Road (East Billerica). This area of Billerica has had approximately 6 reported car breaks in the past week, with items ranging from cash to electronics being stolen. While conducting a saturated patrol of this area, Officer Robert Simmons observed a suspicious person inside a motor vehicle at a residence and stopped to investigate. The suspect, who was dressed in a hoodie with a mask covering his face, quickly fled on foot. Patrol Officers immediately set up a strong perimeter with the assistance of our colleagues from the Tewksbury Police Department. Officer Donald MacEachern, along with his bloodhound, Wizard, were called out to the scene and quickly located the suspect hiding between some cars a short distance away. Property taken from the victim’s motor vehicle was located on the suspect who was subsequently arrested and charged with Breaking and Entry in the Nighttime with the intent to commit a felony. He will be arraigned later today in Middlesex Juvenile Court.

**All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court

Any additional questions should be directed to Deputy Chief Roy Frost, 978-667-1212 x15

Fatal Motor Vehicle Collision

Billerica — On Saturday, January 9, 2016 at approximately 12:30 am, the Billerica Police received a 911
call from a motorist reporting a serious single car collision in the area of 894 Boston Road. Billerica Police arrived on scene within four minutes and observed a single vehicle, described as a 2013 Nissan Juke, had collided with the guard rail and utility pole while headed southbound towards the Burlington line. A single female occupant/operator was found to be entrapped inside the vehicle with significant injuries. The Billerica Fire Department arrived on scene and took over efforts to free the operator, subsequently identified as Ashleigh Snelson, 25, of Burlington. Using extrication tools while rendering first aid, Billerica Firefighters successfully freed Ms. Snelson from her vehicle. Billerica Paramedics provided advanced emergency services, while subsequently transporting Ms. Snelson to Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries. Boston Road in Pinehurst was shut down until approximately 4:00 am while the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit conducted a crash analysis of the scene. Preliminary information obtained in the investigation indicate that speed was a likely factor in the collision. The Billerica Police, Fire Department and Paramedics offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Ms.Snelson. The accident is being investigated by the Billerica Police, along with the Mass State Police and
Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

Any additional questions should be directed to the Middlesex DA Press Office, Meghan Kelly, 781-897-
8325 or via email at Meghan.kelly[@]massmail.state.ma.us

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Billerica Residents Lose Combined $12,867.50 to Scams This Past Week

This past week Billerica residents lost a combined $12,867.50 to scams. These were well known scams that this department has warned about in the past and we want to share these recent incidents in the hope that we can generate more awareness and discussion about these crimes.

On January 5th Billerica Police received a complaint of a sweepstakes type scam. The 69 year old resident reported that he was contacted by telephone by “Dream Sweepstakes Company”. The caller explained that the victim was the winner of $690,000. The victim was then instructed to send money to a lawyer in Houston, Texas. The victim then sent separate money orders with a total value of $6000. After sending the initial $6000 the victim was instructed to send an additional $3000 to secure the proper “legal documents”. That amount was sent by the victim via credit card. At a later date the victim was in contact with the scammers again to request his sweepstakes money and finally demanded his money back. The scammer advised the victim that there would be a $1900 fee to return his money which was not sent. Total loss to the victim was $9000.

On January 7th Billerica Police were contacted by a 75 year old resident that had fallen victim to the grandparent scam. On the morning of the 7th the victim received a phone call from a male that identified himself as “Public Defender Richard Gomes”. Gomes stated that the victim’s grandson had been in Pennsylvania for a funeral. While in the area attending the funeral he had been involved in a motor vehicle accident and was subsequently arrested for operating under the influence. Gomes stated that the victim would need to wire $1790 to the county jail to bail out his grandson. The victim then went to CVS located at 210 Boston Rd in Billerica and wired the funds requested. After sending the funds, Gomes requested another $1790 which the victim did not send. A short time later the victim made contact with his grandson and realized he had been scammed. Total loss to victim was $1790.

On January 7th a 37 year old resident entered the police department to report he had been the victim of a survey scam. The victim reports that he received a package in the mail containing a check for $2,485.50 along with a survey and instructions. The victim was instructed to complete the survey then deposit the check into his bank account. After depositing the check the scammer instructed the victim to purchase three money orders from three different locations, for $692.50 each. These money orders were sent to three different recipients. The victim believed that the initial deposit from the “survey company” had cleared. The victim was then sent another check for $3450.00 and an additional survey. It was at that time that the victim discovered that the initial check had bounced and his account was overdrawn. Total loss to victim was $2077.50.

Warming Up Vehicles In Winter

While it may be very common to look around in the winter time and see vehicles “warming up” it’s not necessary for your vehicle to warm up and in some cases, illegal in Massachusetts.

 

  • Massachusetts law allows idling up to 5 minutes – This limit is in place to reduce incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning, wasted fuel, increased pollution and the theft of vehicles. There are exceptions for vehicles under repair, delivery and emergency vehicles and any vehicle that may require auxiliary power that requires the engine to be running.
  • Wasted Fuel – Tests in Canada reveal that with a 5-minute warm-up, total fuel consumption increased by 7 to 14 percent. Idling a vehicle always returns 0 miles per gallon.
  • Increased Emissions – Vehicles pollute the most when they are first started up and cold. Idling exacerbates this since the best and fastest way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it.

Does your car need to be warmed up?  You’ll want to check your owner’s manual for specifics but most modern vehicles do not need more than 30 seconds of warm up. Daily warm up costs you gas, money and pollutes the air.

What about safety and comfort?  No one likes to get into a cold vehicle and sometimes you have to defrost a car covered in ice and snow. We certainly understand this but motorists should consider the necessity of allowing a vehicle to idle unnecessarily.