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City of Cambridge Warns Residents of Phone Scam Spoofing Cambridge Police Number


10/15/2020

The Cambridge Police and Emergency Communications Departments would like to alert the community to a phone scam that involved spoofing the phone number of the police non-emergency business line.

On Wednesday, October 14, the Cambridge Police Department received multiple reports of the scam. The scam phone calls reportedly appeared as 617-349-3300, which is the non-emergency business line for the Cambridge Police. In the calls, the scam callers stated that they were federal law enforcement officers. In one of the cases, the unknown suspect informed a resident that their Social Security Number was going to be suspended and, in order to prevent the suspension, they requested the resident’s personal information. In another case, an unknown suspect requested a Social Security Number and date of birth, as well as bank information, due to an “investigation into an open criminal case” involving a resident.

As a reminder, a police department or law enforcement agency will never call a resident and ask for their personal or financial information over the phone. If you don’t recognize a phone number, the best step you can take is to let it go to voicemail or hang up right away. If it is important, whoever is calling will leave a message and you can always call back.

To avoid becoming victim to similar scams, the Cambridge Police and Emergency Communications Department recommend that residents follow these tips outlined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

  • Do not take calls from unknown numbers.
  • Caller ID is not always accurate. A call from a “local” number might not be coming from a local person or organization as scammers frequently utilize spoofing technology to disguise a caller’s name or number.
  • Do not share personal, identifying information like your Social Security Number, account numbers, or your mother’s maiden name.
  • If a caller claims to represent an organization and you are doubtful, hang up and contact that agency to verify whether the call was truly from a representative.
  • Never pay a caller with a gift card. Legitimate companies and organizations will not ask you to pay for any service with a gift card.
  • Do not send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. If you pay for a product or service with cash or a money transfer, you run the risk of losing the right to dispute fraudulent charges.
  • Report any money lost to a scam call to local police.
  • Consider adding your telephone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry www.donotcall.gov/. Law abiding telemarketers will not call phone numbers once they are added to the list.
  • Report rude or abusive callers, even if you already sent them money, by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP or by visiting ftc.gov/complaint.


The Cambridge Police Department has published a comprehensive guide that details all things scams and frauds, what each of them encompasses, the techniques used by suspects, and the strategies you can use to protect yourself.
To download this free guide, please visit https://www.cambridgema.gov/cpd/communityresources/CrimePrevention/studentguidetofraudscams.

 

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Cambridge Police Department

Branville G. Bard, Jr.
Police Commissioner

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Cambridge MA 02142

Phone:617.349.3300