FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2014
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Ryan Mulholland, Sam Marksheid, and Rebecca Cheng | (516) 869-7794
Supervisor Bosworth Reminds Residents to Remain Cautious of Scams Targeting Seniors
Recent incidents in the Town highlight need for seniors to be cautious
North Hempstead, NY – Supervisor Judi Bosworth, the North Hempstead Town Board, and Project Independence remind residents to be aware of unscrupulous scammers who target senior citizens, especially those who seek entry into a home. Recently, imposters posing as utility inspectors and employees of the IRS have targeted senior residents in an attempt to steal money and property, according to police officials.
“The Town has learned recently that several of our local seniors were the attempted targets of scammers in separate incidents. I can’t stress enough the importance of using the utmost caution when dealing with strangers or callers asking you for money. These corrupt and immoral individuals will stop at nothing and target some of the most vulnerable of our population, our senior citizens,” said Supervisor Bosworth.
Serviceman Imposter Scam
In one of the reported incidents, a female senior resident from New Hyde Park stated that an individual identifying himself as a utility inspector with a complete uniform and identification tags, reported that there was a gas leak on the block and said that he would have to check inside the home. While the resident was distracted, the perpetrator came into the house and stole jewelry from her home.
According to Nassau County Police, these crimes are called “distraction burglaries” and are part of a scam in which burglars, posing as contractors and other such types, divert homeowners while accomplices enter the home. Police report that three incidents of distraction burglaries have recently been reported in Nassau County.
In a situation like this:
- Police advise that if an unknown and unexpected contractor or utility worker comes to your door and suggests you go out to check something in your yard, ask first to see identification -- and take the time to carefully examine it.
- PSEG LI representatives remind residents to ask for identification from anyone who comes to your door looking like a PSEG Long Island employee. If you are not satisfied, don’t let the person into your house. Call 911 if you feel intimidated or threatened. All PSEG Long Island employees — meter readers, servicewomen and men, and office workers — always wear a badge that tells you who they are. View the following link for tips to prevent being a victim of a scam: www.psegliny.com/page.cfm/Home/Account/ScamAlert.
IRS phone call scams
In another reported incident in Port Washington, a resident received a phone call from an individual identifying himself as an IRS employee. During the phone call the scammer stated that the resident owed money to the IRS and would be arrested and have their bank accounts frozen unless payment was made immediately.
The victim hurried to the bank to withdraw the money, but became suspicious when the scammer called back and asked if she would be cashing out at the ATM or with a teller. She immediately drove to the Port Washington Police Station to report this incident.
According to the IRS, there is a “pervasive phone scam that continues to target people across the nation, including recent immigrants.” The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration called it the largest scam of its kind. As of March 20, TIGTA reported that it has received reports of over 20,000 contacts related to this scam. TIGTA also stated that thousands of victims have paid over $1 million to fraudsters claiming to be from the IRS. For more details about the scam and how to protect yourself, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Renews-Phone-Scam-Warning
According to the IRS, it usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes.
If you have any more questions on how to deal with situations like this, please call 311.