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Police, Helping Our Troops Warn Stonehamites About Recent Scams

With spring nearly here, Stoneham Police and the nonprofit organization are asking homeowners to be suspicious of people soliciting work or donations unannounced.

After a recent incident involving two men potentially trying to scam an elderly Stonehamite, are advising residents to be on the lookout for scammers.

At about 1 p.m. on March 12, an elderly woman who lives on Governor Road was approached by two white men, believed to be in their mid-40s and driving a purple/blue-colored vehicle, offering to detail her car for $100, according to a March 13 police log entry.

One of the men reportedly told the woman he'd recently lost his job before becoming "very pushy" while offering the service, according to the log.

"The suspects became verbally aggressive with the resident, but did finally leave when the resident continued to decline their offer," said Lt. Richard McCarthy in a press statement.

Police: Scam Activity Likely to Increase Soon

"Now that the warmer weather is approaching, the home improvement/driveway repair scams usually start up," said Lt. Jim McIntyre in an email to Stoneham Patch.

Police are asking all residents, especially the elderly, to be cautious about having any home repairs performed by contractors that show up at their door unannounced. Some scams pulled by con artists include performing driveway repairs or resurfacing, tree trimming, chimney cleaning and repairs.  

"Should a homeowner agree to have work done, the quality of the work is often inferior and the final cost of the job becomes exorbitant," McCarthy said in the statement. "When the victim questions the price increase, the workers intimidate the homeowner by threatening to call the police. Many times these scam artists will drive their victims to the bank in order for them to be paid in cash.

"Last spring, a Stoneham resident fell victim to a driveway resurfacing scam, losing $5,000 cash."

Mind Your Surroundings

Residents should also be aware of a current trend referred to as "diversion (breaking and enterings)," according to the statement. This crime typically involves two or more people who come to your front door, acting as though they are contractors or service technicians. "While one person distracts the homeowner, the other individuals move throughout the home stealing pocketbooks, wallets, jewelry and any other visible valuables," McCarthy said in the statement.

Phone Scam

Recently, , a nonprofit organization that sends care packages to local soldiers stationed overseas, posted on their Facebook page that con artists are calling Stonehamites and neighboring communities attempting to solicit donations using the Helping Our Troops name. 

"PLEASE BEWARE...THEY ARE SCAMMERS!!!" wrote the nonprofit. "These people have no affiliation with the Helping Our Troops Program...we do not solicit via phone nor will we ever.

"...We do not make phone calls, we do not come out to pick up money and no checks are made out to volunteer names."

All donations to the nonprofit should be in the form of a check, made payable to "Helping Our Troops" and sent direct to StonehamBank, 80 Montvale Avenue, Stoneham, MA 02180.

Approached by Scammers? Call the Police

If you, or an elderly neighbor, are approached at your home or over the phone by a person(s) soliciting work or donations, police are encouraging residents to contact the station at 781-438‑1212 or 911 if it's an emergency.

NCPHIF March 29, 2012 at 03:29 PM
As a nonprofit, it is our mission to educate homeowners on how to avoid becoming victims of contractor scams. Before you begin a home repair or home improvement project, please visit preventcontractorfraud.org for FREE and valuable information on how to deal with contractors. Don't become a victim!!

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