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Chief Issues a Scam Alert to Senior Citizens

Jun 01, 2018 01:00PM ● By Pamela Johnson

Bellingham Chief of Police Gerard L. Daigle Jr.

With summer rapidly approaching, the warm weather will likely bring with it a whole new crop of  scammers. Bellingham’s seniors need to be especially watchful. So warns the town’s police chief, Gerard Daigle, who has been with the department for 18 years.

“Telephones, computers and your front door are all ways scammers can gain access,” says Chief Daigle, “to you and your money.”

Telephones. First of all, “the IRS will never call you” and it’s best not to answer any call from an unknown source. There are also more “ransom calls” these days where the caller threatens to harm a relative or friend unless a payment is made. If you find yourself talking to one of these bad guys, “never give out personal information like date of birth or social security number,” advises Daigle, who was born and raised in Bellingham (and has been here ever since).

Computers. Never share personal information online unless you are certain of the source and you are confident your information will be protected. Be careful of the websites you visit online and be mindful that any data you share may eventually be used against you.

The Front Door. “Posing as Department of Public Works employees,” explains the Chief, “two peo-ple will show up at the front door… one talks, the other goes inside and takes.” Anyone who comes to your door unannounced should display a badge or present a certificate. “If they don’t, call us and we’ll check them out.” Generally, a good policy is do not open the door to people you do not know.

Other popular scams in warmer weather involve home improvements including yard work, windows, and driveways.

“When you go on vacation,” Chief Daigle suggests that you notify the police department. “Call us… let us know… we’ll keep an eye on your home or apartment. We’re dealing with people who do break-ins for a living. They steal valuables and then quickly pawn them.”

“Please be careful to establish the true identity of the person or company you’re dealing with,” urges the Chief. If you need help, call the police department. “We’d rather head off a problem, than clean up a mess later.”

If you find yourself a victim of identity fraud, there is a packet of information available at the police department that can help you untangle fraudulent activity and help to protect you in the future.

Over nearly two decades, the Chief of Police has seen all kinds of scamming activity. But today, “it’s a whole new world and the elderly are especially susceptible.” The police department has 32 employees and they are all ready to help.





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