Lower Frederick Police Wary of Scammers’ Next Attack

Simple tools (at top) – a phone, the Internet, and a few databases or social media sites – are all a successful scammer needs to bilk money and valuables from unwitting suspects. Lower Frederick Police Chief Paul Maxey hopes to prevent that from happening locally.

LOWER FREDERICK PA – Armed primarily with computers, Internet access, and telephones, an unusually ruthless crop of criminals posing as representatives of law enforcement or other government agencies are taking money – sometimes the life savings – of elderly residents and others across the country. Sadly, Lower Frederick Police Chief Paul Maxey adds, the township is no exception.

The acts of scammers and others perpetrating long-distance fraud has hit close to home for the chief. His 88-year-old father was nearly a victim, he said.

Moreover, the department in recent months has witnessed an almost roller coaster-like series of scam victim reports; high volumes over some periods, low during others. “We find that these people do burst calling in the township,” the chief added. “We’ll get maybe 10 of these in a couple of weeks’ time,” and then nothing for awhile.

Ahead of the next burst, Maxey, Cpl. Dave Milligan, and Ofcs. Brian Cass and Karissa Lauer are working to ensure the public knows that con artists of all kinds are out to deceive them. On Tuesday (June 21, 2022) the department issued a plea to residents to be “Scam Aware,” and offered several tips to help them avoid being fleeced.

Lower Frederick Police Hope You'll Be 'Scam Aware'
Read the Lower Frederick Police Department’s tips on how to avoid being taken in by a scam. Click here, or on the image above

The perpetrators, the department noted, often rely on public information readily available from online databases and social media sources to enhance their credibility. They’ll call, or send texts or e-mails, that seem authentic in part because they’re laced with personal references. Most indicate that “loved ones are in some type of peril,” according to the chief.

Some may mention a grandchild by name, and claim he or she has been arrested and needs bail money. Others suggest persons being called are in trouble for taxes in arrears on their “Anywhere Avenue” home, and demand immediate payment or risk foreclosure.

“These scammers have so much information on these folks when they’re getting hold of them,” Maxey observed, that “the believability of what they’re saying seems to carry some weight.”

Although victims of older age are prime targets of the criminals’ calls, young and middle-age adults can be just as susceptible. To all potential victims, no matter what their age or financial status, Maxey urges them to start with a basic question:

Does what they’re hearing make sense?

  • If the callers claim to be from a police department and are demanding money or, on occasion, gift cards as some sort of payment, be wary. Police departments don’t collect money, Maxey advises; the court system does. The courts will send an official notice by mail, not by phone.
  • If the callers want gift cards to be purchased and mailed to them in lieu of payment, be wary. Gift cards are for personal, not government, use.
  • If the callers want immediate action, rather than give you time to consider the request, or if they refuse to mail information for you and others to read, be wary. Don’t give in to their forced sense of urgency, the chief said.

And don’t let the scammers’ call be your last call in the matter. Maxey hopes township residents will also phone the police station at 610-287-4434, or the 24-hour non-emergency phone answered by Montgomery County dispatchers, 610-489-9332, to let them know of the incident. The more information police have about these crimes, Maxey believes, the better.

Computer background photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash, used under license
Cellphone photo by Oliur on Unsplash, used under license