Chief Terence M. Delehanty is warning the public about a fraudulent personal loan scam being mailed to residents.
On Wednesday, May 13, a letter was returned to the Winthrop Finance Department containing an offer for a $17,000 personal loan and gift cards to businesses such as Target and Starbucks if the recipient filled out an online application. Though the return address for the letter stated that it was from an undisclosed administrative office in Winthrop, the letter was returned to the Winthrop Finance Department.
Staff immediately notified the Police Department about the letter, who confirmed with the Massachusetts State Police that this is a known scam.
Chief Delehanty warns that residents should NEVER give personal information, social security numbers or credit card numbers to people who call their homes or cell phones unsolicited.
“The only reason we became aware of this is because it was returned to the believed sender,” Chief Delehanty said. “However, the Town would never send a letter like this. We encourage residents to remain vigilant and to always call if they receive any suspicious offers either by mail, over the phone or in person.”
Chief Delehanty would also like to remind residents to be on the lookout for any scams or suspicious activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents should not partake in any COVID-19 testing from door-to-door solicitors, people who approach them at grocery stores or other community venues, solicitors who call requesting financial information in return for a test or mail COVID-19 test offerings.
If residents encounter individuals claiming to be a member of the Winthrop Police or Fire Department who are seeking monetary donations pertaining to COVID-19, they are asked to contact the Winthrop Police Department. Neither department is accepting these types of donations at this time.
The Massachusetts’s Attorney General’s Office provides these tips for residents to protect themselves from other scams and frauds:
- Watch out for high-priced or low-quality products; report any retailers that inflate prices on products like hand sanitizer and face masks.
- Beware of false and misleading information being spread online. Use reputable sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
- Keep an eye out for unauthorized or fraudulent charities or solicitations. Before donating to a coronavirus charity, make sure the charity is legitimate.
If anyone has questions or feels like they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Winthrop Police Department at 617-846-1212.
Massachusetts residents who believe they are victims of fraud or other criminal activity related to the pandemic should contact the United States Attorney’s Office at [email protected] or call 1-888-221-6023 and leave a message. Members of the public can also contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by visiting www.IC3.gov.