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Police Warn About Scams Targeting Elderly

Swampscott detectives recently stopped a chimney cleaning company that has a history of scamming elderly people, polcie said.

Patch file photo. Credit: Terry Date
Patch file photo. Credit: Terry Date

The following information was provided by Swampscott police Det. Tim Cassidy:

In recent months Swampscott Police detectives have followed up on several attempts at scams involving the elderly. This has been a growing trend in the area.

Detectives recently met with some of the other North Shore detectives at Salem PD, to discuss on-going crimes, including elderly scammers.

Some of the scams involve telling the elderly that they have won the lottery, however they need to send a certain amount of money to the person first before they can collect their winnings.

There have also been a large number of attempts by someone calling and telling the elderly person that a loved one is under arrest and they need to send them bail money right away.

Here is an example of a recent attempt:  an elderly male reported being the victim of a Western Union scam. He received a call a couple days ago from  a young male who he thought was his grandson reporting that he and friends were arrested in Ohio for speeding and drug offenses and needed $1,800.

Bail money was to be sent to a person named John Doe in Maryland via Western Union. The next day he was called by a  fake  “ Sgt. Miller “ saying more bail money was needed. The victim followed his instructions and sent $ 5,200 more directly from his Bank of America account. 

Some of these scam calls have been traced back to other parts of the country and to other countries such as Nigeria and Jamaica.

Swampscott detectives recently stopped a chimney cleaning company called “All American Chimney” out of New York and New Jersey who have been caught in the past scamming elderly people.

This company will use cold calls to residents offering a cheap chimney clean and when they get to the house they will actually cause damage to the person's furnace, and then charge huge money to fix a minor broken part, damage that they caused. 

Police also have investigated several incidents where checks are sent to people and the receiving party is to deposit the check into his/her account and then send back a certain agreed-upon amount of cash. The check that they deposited is no good.

Most of these scammers want the person to send the cash out right away using Western Union.

During the warmer months area police department are constantly kept busy with the driveway paving scammers and roofing scammers. It is always ok to call the local police to ask if a company is legit or not, if you are not sure.

If you have elderly parents or elderly neighbors and friends, get the word out to them and remind them if they receive any type of call for services, or a knock on the door offering services, or piece of mail requesting money, to first contact their local police departments before sending money anywhere.

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