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Queens Chronicle

Seniors, homeowners warned about scams

104th Council says use caution

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Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 10:42 am, Thu Jan 3, 2013.

Police warned residents to take extra care to avoid telephone scams and so-called “deception burglaries” that have been in the news in recent weeks.

“There is no reason that anyone who calls you needs to know your social security number, credit card number or anything else,” said Capt. John Travaglia, executive officer of the 104th Precinct on Dec. 19 at a meeting of the Community Council in Ridgewood.

He said senior citizens are often targeted by callers who use confusing, high-pressure tactics. He and Officer Thomas Bell of the 104th’s Community Affairs Office said the best thing to do is just hang up.

Another scam that the NYPD has been warning people to watch out for is from people coming to their doors representing themselves as workers for utilities like Con Edison, or posing as a repairman.

A 90-year-old Forest Hills man was recently assaulted in his home by men using such a ruse.

“When the guy at the door is distracting your attention, he could have two partners in the back ransacking your home,” Travaglia said.

“Legitimate delivery men from FedEx or UPS almost never have to come into your home,” he said. “Don’t let anyone in.”

They said sometimes burglars will be bold enough to knock on doors where Con Ed or water utility workers are visible on a legitimate job within sight of the person answering and say they need to check some sort of utility problem.

Bell said there is no need to even open a door is one is suspicious. He said that is the same if someone, dressed in street clothes as he was at the meeting, identifies himself as a police officer

“Call the police,” he said. “Real Con Ed workers, real water company workers don’t mind waiting for us to check them out. Real police officers will wait while someone in uniform checks us out. The fake ones will run away, but call us anyway. We might get there and be able to find them just around the corner.”

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