While many people are busy with lawn and gardening chores, scam artists are focused on trying to separate local residents from their money — as evidenced by a flurry on Monday.
The latest fraudulent flavor of the month evokes the United Parcel Service name, coming on the heels of another involving callers pretending to represent Microsoft.
“We actually had five calls yesterday for the UPS scam,” Capt. Alan Freeman of the Mount Airy Police Department said Tuesday.
“That was the most in one day I believe we’ve had,” added Freeman, whose role at the department includes keeping tabs on various and sundry schemes that have targeted citizens in recent years through telephone, letter or email correspondence.
The UPS telephone-solicitation scam involves calls being made to local residents from individuals claiming to be representatives of the shipping company.
In broken English, they advise citizens that UPS has a package for them. The scammers then have directed the citizens to dial another number, where a second person tells the caller that he or she has won a large sum of money. With one particular call, the prize amount cited was $350,000.
This has prompted Freeman to warn other people in this area that they could be targeted likewise. The scammers have been using the 876 and 509 area codes. Freeman said additional details about this scheme can be found at http://www.bewareof876.com
“If you go back and research it, that same scam has been tried in every other area of the United States,” he said.
The best advice is to hang up on the caller, he advises, and never give out any personal or financial information.
As if innocent would-be victims already didn’t have enough to worry about, the Microsoft-related scam also has surfaced locally.
Citizens have notified the police department concerning a telephone solicitation that has occurred within the past two weeks or so in which individuals claim to be representatives of the computer software giant.
The callers speak with a heavy Indian, or southern Asian, accent and offer to remotely repair one’s computer. When the repairs are made, the victim is advised that he or she is not allowed to access the computer until a “repair fee” is paid.
In the cases reported so far, the scammer is persistent, calling several times with the offer
Freeman advises that again, the best advice is to hang up on the caller, and never give out any personal or financial information. “If your computer needs repair, get advice from the manufacturer,” the police official added.
This scam also is not a new one, according to Freeman, referring to a website that fully explains it at http://www.neowin.net/news/computer-repair-scammers-claim-to-be-from-microsoft
“Those particular scams have happened in other locations — they’re just new to us,” he said of the phony Microsoft and UPS calls.
“I think they’re moving locations,” he said of the Mount Airy residents being contacted in recent days by perpetrators who have struck elsewhere. “They’re trying new locations.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.