Common Scams

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.

greendot-card_smThe 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:

Internal Revenue Service Scam – Scenario from IRS

IRS

  • Victims receive an unsolicited phone call and are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card (MoneyPak) or wire transfer. The number on the caller ID is spoofed and may read “Washington DC”, “IRS” or something similar. 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. Please see the IRS website for more information.

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.

Paving Scam – Scenario from Wellesley Police

  • A man knocks on your door and says he has extra asphalt, extra roofing materials, paint or other home repair materials and is willing to pave your driveway, patch a roof, paint or perform other household repairs at a discounted price.  His high pressure approach confuses and intimidates. If you agree to let them perform the work, here is what likely happens.  Men and equipment suddenly appear and begin “working” on your driveway, roof or other area in or around your home.  At some point, the conman claims a mistake was made and you owe thousands more than the original price.  He threatens that if you refuse to pay, the “work” will cease.  You may be escorted to the bank, to withdraw money.  When you realize the scam you try to cancel the check only to learn it was cashed within minutes of it being written.  More from Wellesley Police.  Remember, anyone soliciting door to door in Billerica needs to have a solicitors license issued by BPD.

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).

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.

 

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Boston Man arrested for Possession of “Crack” Cocaine with Intent to Distribute

Billerica – On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at around 7PM, Patrol Officer Tim McKenna was actively patrolling the area of Dudley Road in West Billerica when he observed a suspicious individual operating erratically. After stopping the vehicle, Officer McKenna observed the operator reaching across to the passenger side of the vehicle in an exaggerated manner while slowly moving forward approximately three hundred feet before eventually stopping on Concord Road in Billerica. Upon approaching the driver’s side of the vehicle, Officer McKenna observed the operator reaching for a bottle of spring water while grabbing at multiple small cellophane twist baggies of a hard white substance that were located in his lap. Also in plain view on the front passenger seat of the vehicle were numerous loose denominations of U.S. Currency. Officer McKenna quickly recognized that the multiple twist baggies of hard white substance, coupled with the operators actions and the loose cash, were all indications that the suspect was in the act of selling illegal narcotics, specifically crack cocaine. After calling for back-up and conducting a preliminary investigation, which included the assistance of a Billerica Police certified drug detection canine, handled by Officer Mark Tsoukalas, additional narcotics were located in the vehicle. The operator and sole occupant of the vehicle, Hector Morales-Rivera, 47, of Mattapan, MA was arrested at the scene and charged with Possession of a Class B substance (crack cocaine) with Intent to Distribute, Operating with a suspended driver’s license, Operating an Uninsured Vehicle with a Suspended/Revoked registration as well as additional motor vehicle moving violations. In total, police seized six individually wrapped baggies of crack cocaine, two cell phones and over a thousand dollars in U.S. Currency. He was bailed on personal recognizance and will be arraigned in Lowell District Court on April 23, 2015.

Any additional questions should be directed to Deputy Chief Roy Frost, 978-215-9653 or by email at rfrost [@] billericapolice.org

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Paramedic Job Openings – Announcement

The Town of Billerica Emergency Medical Service is seeking applications for Per Diem Paramedics with possible Full time employment opportunities. Applicants must be Massachusetts Certified Paramedics, current CPR & ACLS certification and a current driver’s license. ITLS, PALS, and NRP are preferred but not required. Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years emergency experience as paramedic. Non smoker preferred.

Job Description: An emergency health care provider working under Massachusetts DPH, MGL Chapter 111C which regulates ambulances and its operators. Paramedics will be responsible for recognizing, assessing and treating medical and traumatic emergencies, coordinating efforts with other public safety agencies. She/he will initiate invasive and non-invasive treatments in accordance with Massachusetts DPH/OEMS treatment protocols. Paramedics will record all details related with treatments and incidents. Insurance and other related information will be obtained and entered into the computer billing system. Paramedics will maintain equipment and ambulances in a constant state of readiness, and will be able to respond at all times. Paramedics may also be responsible for other clerical and building maintenance duties.

Application deadline is May 8, 2015.

All applications should be sent to:

Billerica Town Hall
Asst. Town Manager
Paramedic Application
365 Boston Road
Billerica Ma 01821

The Town of Billerica is an Equal Opportunity employer

Acronyms:

DPH – Department of Public health
ACLS – Advanced Cardiac Life Support
CPR – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
ITLS – International Trauma Life Support
PALS – Pediatric Advanced Life Support
NRP – Neonatal Resuscitation program

Application Form Download

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Chelmsford Police Department, On Tip from Billerica Police, Captures Bank Robbery Suspect After Pursuit that Ended in Bedford

CHELMSFORD — Police Chief James M. Spinney reports that the Chelmsford Police Department, acting on information provided by the Billerica Police Department, today located and apprehended a dangerous bank robbery suspect after a pursuit that ended in the town of Bedford.

On Thursday morning, Chelmsford Police Department Criminal Detectives, acting on information developed by the Billerica Police Department, tracked the suspect in Wednesday’s robbery of the Chelmsford Citizen’s Bank to a location in Nashua, N.H. While en route to Nashua, Chelmsford Police Inspector Jeff Blodgett recognized the suspect’s vehicle traveling on Rt. 3 in Chelmsford and began to follow it as it continued on Rt. 3. Patrol officers, in marked police vehicles, attempted a traffic stop of the vehicle, but the operator sped away, leading officers on a pursuit.

The operator refused to stop, leading police on a high speed pursuit before the operator lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree on Middlesex Turnpike in Bedford, just over the Billerica line.

The operator, identified as JASON JEWETT, AGE 38, OF LITTLETON was seriously injured in the crash. He is currently being treated for non life-threatening injuries at an area hospital.

JEWETT faces a number of charges including Operating a Motor Vehicle after License Revocation, Operating to Endanger, Failure to Stop for Law Enforcement, and Marked Lanes Violations. The investigation is ongoing and charges related to the bank robbery are still pending.
Chief Spinney notes that the strong partnership between the Chemsford and Billerica Police Departments and the teamwork showed by detectives from both departments directly led to the identification and ultimate apprehension of this dangerous suspect.

“I am proud to have such strong working partnerships with our neighbors, and I want to thank the Billerica Police Department for their assistance in locating and capturing this suspect,” Chief Spinney said. “This suspect was desperate to get away, but a careful and measured police response during the pursuit prevented injury to any civilians, regardless of the suspects intent.”

Chief Rosa added: “The Billerica Police Department received a reliable tip about the whereabouts of a dangerous robbery suspect, and we immediately shared that information with our partners in the Chelmsford Police Department. I am proud that we were able to work together for a positive outcome.”

The Chiefs also recognize and thank the Bedford Police Department and Massachusetts State Police for their assistance during and after the pursuit.

Additional charges may be pending against JEWETT. The investigation is ongoing.

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