Londonderry Senior Center Director Catherine Blash hosted detectives from the police department at the Senior Center for its monthly breakfast, and Detective Sergeant Kim Bernard and Detective Christopher Olson warned of scams in the area.
“If you are contacted by people who you believe are conducting a scam, call us and we’ll come out and we’ll look into it and give you some feedback right away,” Bernard told the seniors.
Among the scams that Bernard and Olson warned about are: Publishers Clearing House, where a caller claims the senior has won but money is required to claim the prize; Secret Shopper, where a “secret shopper” company asks for money; an alleged Comcast caller who identifies himself as an employee and asks for personal information; and a scheme in which a grandchild is allegedly in trouble and in need of money.
“What I see could happen soon is a scam where callers will ask for donations for the two firefighters that were killed the other day (in Boston) and compassionate people will give them money,” Bernard said. “The best thing to do is call the fire house where they worked and ask where to send any money if they want to donate, but don’t give money to anyone just because they’re asking for it and playing on your sympathies.”
Bernard also warned that if a home care provider or relative is mistreating someone, the police should be called. “There’s a task force that is put on by the Attorney General’s office where a team is set up for just these things,” Bernard said. “Elderly abuse is one of the most common things happening today because a lot of people don’t report it because it’s their sweet grandson who lives with them and the grandmother is the prisoner in her own home. That’s an abuse situation. If you know someone in your community, friend or whoever, who is in that situation, call us.”
The scam presentation struck home with senior Pat Wood.
“About a year ago I got a call supposedly from my grandson,” Wood said. “At the time he was living in California and the caller said that he was my grandson and that he had been in an accident in Mexico and was in jail and needed money. He called me Grandma and my grandson always called me Grammy, and that kind of made me wonder. I said to him, ‘Isn’t Bodi with you?’ and the caller said, ‘Oh, no he couldn’t make it.’ Bodi is my grandson’s dog so I knew it wasn’t real.”
Wood said she told the caller she didn’t have any money, and then she called police to report it.