Police Blotter, Dec. 18, 2013 | chelseanow.com

Police Blotter, Dec. 18, 2013

Don’t Fall for These Slick Phone Scams
NYPD Community Affairs recently sent out this crime prevention tip. If you’d like to be in their list, send a request to: communityaffairs@nypd.org.

People are losing thousands of dollars in a phone scam. Here is how the scam works: After receiving a call from someone who claims to be collecting a debt for either a Utility Company or the Internal Revenue Service, people are being threatened with the loss of their heat, electric or told they will be deported.

Utility Company Scam: The victims are contacted by a caller who states that they work at a Utility Company and are collecting money that is past due. The caller informs the victim that they can avoid having their utility service disconnected if they immediately pay the past due amount using a Green Dot MoneyPak card that can be purchased at a local store.  The caller instructs the victim to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card in a specified amount and provides the victim with a phone number to be called back when the MoneyPak has been obtained.

The victim purchases a Green Dot card at a local store and proceeds to call back the number they were given. The victim is instructed to scratch off and read the MoneyPak card serial number to the perpetrator. Once the scammer has the Green Dot MoneyPak serial number they are able to transfer funds onto a prepaid debit card. The victim has now lost their money.

Internal Revenue Service Scam: The victims receive a call and are told that they owe back taxes, fees or fines to the I.R.S. and that if they do not make an immediate payment using a Green Dot MoneyPak card they will be arrested or deported. This scam is perpetrated in the same manner as the utility scam. The results are also the same, the victim’s money is stolen.

Summary: Green Dot MoneyPak cards are legitimate products when used for the right purposes. Once purchased at a participating retailer with cash, consumers can use MoneyPaks to reload other prepaid cards, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account, or make same-day payments to major companies. Because the cards can only be bought with cash, consumers never need to disclose their personal or financial information to a retail cashier or to make a payment. While many schemes still involve scammers asking for funds to be wired to them, MoneyPaks have the added benefit of the scammer not having to show up at an office to claim the funds. Anyone with the 14-digit number found on the back of the MoneyPak card can drain the card of funds.

In all of these examples, the intended victims are instructed to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak cards, load the amount of the fine or other money owed onto the card and then provide the number on the back of the card to the scammers, who will then drain the funds from the card.

Tips To Avoid This Scam:

•  Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.

•  Remember that anyone who has the number on a Green Dot MoneyPak card has access to the funds on the card.

•  Never give out personal or financial information to anyone who emails or calls you unsolicited.

•  Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers or Green Dot MoneyPak card numbers to someone you do not know.


Criminal Possession of Stolen Property: Five flee, two pinched
Responding just after midnight on Sat., Dec. 7, uniformed officers from the 10th Precinct were met by an MTA employee at the 14th St. stop on the A/C line (at Eighth Ave.), who told them that he observed a group of seven males engaged in a fight, while traveling on the southbound A train. The fracas spilled over onto the platform when the train stopped at 14th St. Five fled the station, and two (ages 22 and 23) were apprehended at the scene. Upon further investigation, it was learned that the first defendant (known to transit police as a repeat offender) was carrying “a benefit card that did not belong to him.” It was also learned that the second defendant had three open dockets (aka, pending court appearances).

Petty Larceny: At least he brought his own bag
A 43-year-old shopper at Gristedes (221 Eighth Ave.) had all the makings of a meal, and the means with which to promote personal hygiene. But a vigilant employee sensed that something stunk, when the man placed his shrimp (worth $25), rice ($3), ice cream ($8) and deodorant ($5) into a plastic bag and attempted to exit the store without paying. Police responding to the scene arrested the man, shortly after dinnertime on Mon., Dec. 9.

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
A 54-year-old male was taken into custody at 12:45am on Sat., Dec. 7, after he was caught walking from one subway car to another (on the northbound C train). The man was taken into custody at the 14th St. station (at Eighth Ave.), after a search revealed that he was carrying Ziploc envelopes of “alleged cocaine” in his wallet as well as a bag of marijuana in his left jacket pocket — and, the arresting officers noted, “eight smaller empty glassine Ziploc bags from the left jacket pocket.” The defendant refused to provide any contact information, and with good reason: it was eventually discovered that he had a history of arrests in the subway system, and was awaiting a previously scheduled court appearance.

—Scott Stiffler


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