Photo of Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley, Massachusetts Police Department

A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department

Week of July 19, 2020

Unfortunately, various money related “scams” continue to occur in our area.  Some of these have been reported to us recently.  I wanted to provide some reminders for people on this subject.

As you may know, money scams have been occurring for many years.  Those responsible prey on unsuspecting individuals, such as seniors.  People take advantage of their kind nature and can sometimes fool them into believing a story.  The scammer’s goal is to obtain either quick cash or other personal information, such as bank account numbers.  Some victims have received calls from a person stating a family member of theirs was in an accident or arrested, often in a foreign country.  The victim is told their loved one (child, grandchild, etc.) is being held against their will or threatened with physical harm.  Money is to be sent immediately in order to ensure 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 recipient. 

With the COVID-19 emergency, this week was the final date to file taxes.  Please be aware some people may receive a call from a person claiming to be from the IRS.  The victim can be 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 mentioned 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.  Any legitimate company, especially government agencies, will never demand payment in this manner.  The important thing to remember is do not 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 of the proper people to avoid becoming a victim.

In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a great deal of turmoil taking place in our state and around the country.  We continue to serve the people of Dudley and work with the community to improve the quality of life for everyone.  I continue to thank the men and women from my department for their continued dedicated service to the Town of Dudley during these trying times.  Thanks also go out to the many Police Officers, Fire and Emergency Services members, public works, government and all other “essential” personnel for their continued hard work and service.  We greatly appreciate the support we receive from our community.

Thanks again for your questions and comments.  Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St., Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at swojnar@dudleypolice.com.  Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen. 

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