Common Scams

Scammers are always evolving and changing their techniques in an attempt to remain effective in stealing personal data. In a world dominated by technology, it is important to stay up informed and up to date on what methods scammers use as well as any possible data breaches within companies that may have your information. While the below information begins to cover some of the methods scammers use, remember that scammers are always changing how they operate to stay ahead of detection. If you have any questions or believe you have been victimized by a scam, contact us at 781-259-8113 to speak to an officer as soon as possible. 

General Tips

  • Never send money via gift card, prepaid debit cards, or 'moneygrams'. Legitimate companies and government agencies never accept gift cards as a form of payment, nor do they usually accept moneygrams (such as WesternUnion, MoneyGram, etc). Certain popular money apps, such as Venmo and Square Cash, may offer limited or no buyer protection and any funds sent may be nonrefundable. 
  • Be wary of calls from unknown numbers. Many scammers change the appearance of what phone number they're calling from (known as 'spoofing'), and usually change their number to one that shares the same area code as yours, or a legitimate company or government agency. If you ever have doubts that a call is legitimately from a company or government branch, hang up and call the main phone number for the company/government branch.
  • Spam is not always a scam. A scammer's goal is to steal personal information, where they then usually sell that information to third parties who then use that stolen information to obtain goods and services. Spam is an unwanted message or advertisement distributed to a wide audience. Most spam messages/calls can be ignored safely with no further action needed. It is usually only when personal information is requested or shared that it becomes a scam. 
  • Scammers use urgency and emotions to their advantage. Most scammers try to use rush tactics and emotions to their advantage. Whether it's fear for a loved one's safety, threat of arrest, or sharing a sad story, scammers will usually combine these manipulation of emotions with the sense of urgency to overwhelm their target. 

Recent Scams

Below are some of the recent scams received by not only Lincoln residents, but across the United States. These are just examples of some of the tactics used by scammers to obtain personal information; if you suspect you have been victimized call us at 781-259-8113 to speak to an officer.

  • IRS Scam: The IRS never initiates communications via e-mail, text messages, or social media. Usually, first notification by the IRS is made via mail, and any phone calls are normally to schedule meetings with an IRS employee. In addition, the IRS will never demand payment in the form of gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or any form of cryptocurrency (such as BitCoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc). All payments to the IRS are always made to "United States Treasury". A new tactic some scammers are using is sending fake letters via the postal service; however, these letters usually request payment via gift cards or to an entity besides the United States Treasury. If you receive any suspicious contact from someone claiming to be with the IRS CLICK HERE to contact your local IRS office or call 1-800-829-1040 (7 AM - 7 PM).
  • Lottery/Sweepstakes Winners: Someone contacts you to inform you that you have won a substantial cash prize and to claim the prize that you do not recall entering. To claim the prize you must either provide your banking information, provide money for taxes upfront, or deposit a check and then send a smaller amount back immediately for taxes. First and foremost, you cannot win a contest or lottery you did not enter. State and local laws govern legitimate lotteries and will publish results online or via TV broadcast. For sweepstakes run by private companies, use publicly posted contact information (such as Google search results) to inquire if you have legitimately won. If entering a contest, retain a copy of the contest rules as methods of contacting any winners will be described within them. 
  • Contractor 'Surplus Materials': Someone knocks on your door and explains that they are a contractor who has just finished working at a nearby property and offer you a highly discounted rate as they have extra material that would otherwise go to waste, but payment must be made immediately, and usually only cash is accepted. However, the contractor either never shows up to complete the described work or inferior materials and work is done. Never hire a contractor on the spot, especially one who is unsolicited. When you do decide to hire a contractor, take your time to choose one who has a positive reputation and provides quality work.
  • Grandchild In Trouble: Specifically targeting the elderly, a scammer will call claiming to be the victim's grandchild and frantically state that they are in trouble (in jail, stranded on the highway, in the hospital) and they need money sent to them immediately. A second scammer may then take over the phone call posing as a law enforcement officer, doctor, or other official to threaten harm to the faux grandchild should payment not be sent quickly. Money is demanded usually by wiring funds via Western Union or MoneyGram, or by purchasing gift cards/prepaid debit cards and then reading the code on the card to the scammer. If you receive this type of call, have the caller verify the grandchild's full name and date of birth as well as their alleged location, then contact another family member to verify if they are indeed in that area. You can also try directly calling the grandchild at their home number or cell phone to see if they are indeed in trouble.