EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – The Eastchester Police Department is advising the community that there have been several attempts to defraud residents through deceptive measures in recent weeks.
According to Lt. Jeffrey Hunter, the schemes include a caller pretending to be a family member in need of money, individuals in parking lots offering to repair slight vehicle damage for drivers, scams targeting the elderly and a lottery mail fraud scheme.
Recently, calls from fictitious family members claiming to be in an accident or arrested, often in a different country, have been targeting the town’s elderly population, police said.
A secondary part of this phone scam is that the victim may be asked to call a number back and verify information, claiming to be a United States Embassy. At least one of these numbers included an 809 area code, which Hunter said comes with a steep charge on phone bills.
Hunter warned that residents should confirm with a different relative before wiring any money.
“Once the caller is able to convince the target that they are a relative, they will create a story that they are injured, or in custody, and request that they cannot leave to be released until a fee is paid,” he said. “Victims of this fraud are requested by the caller to go to a store and wire money through services such as MoneyGram or Western Union.”
Another scheme involves individuals approaching car owners in parking lots “offering to fix a dent or repair a detached auto body part.” The perpetrator offers a reasonable price for the work, offering to follow the victim to the bank if more money is needed. The compound that is then applied to dents will prove to be ineffective.
Eastchester residents have also been targeted in a lottery mail scam. Hunter said the details differ in each case, but the end result is the same. Victims receive an “official looking” letter stating they are the winner of an international lotto with a check with a percentage of the winnings.
The letter continues to say that a phone call must be made to an overseas number; this is when the scam takes place, according to Hunter. The victims are directed to deposit the check and forward it with an untraceable payment to the tax agent. By this time, they have already sent the money overseas for a loss.
“The Eastchester Police Department recommends that any person in receipt of suspicious mail that is ‘too good to be true’ or a suspect phone call should consult a trusted family member or friend or contact the police department to report it before making any financial transfer of funds,” Hunter said.