Nashuans receiving scam calls

Staff photo by Katherine Glosser Nashua Police Department Senior Relations Specialist Jane Constant takes a call at her desk.

NASHUA — “Right now, you and your physical property, those are being monitored and it’s very important that I do hear from you as soon as possible before we proceed further in any legal matter,” states one transcript of a monitored call to Nashua resident Chris Wilcox.

The caller, who said they are with the Social Security Administration, then proceeded to give a callback number to Wilcox. Wilcox said he received this call three times in a matter of 24 hours.

“They are horrible people,” Wilcox said. “They play the numbers game. The more people called, the better the chance that they’ll get someone gullible enough to provide the information they are looking for.”

Wilcox’s story is not an isolated case, as several people are receiving such calls. Nashua Police Department Senior Relations Specialist Jane Constant said the department receives reports of phone call scams at least one to two times a week.

Most of these are robocalls, or calls that leave messages that are automatic and not made by humans. The most common scams involve someone claiming to represent the IRS or Social Security Administration.

“It pretty much happens regularly,” Constant said. “Every week that I come in, I usually get a few calls and every place I go and visit, every senior housing development I go visit, there’s always one or two people that are telling me about an IRS call that they get.”

According to Constant, the main targets are the elderly, especially those who live alone and are isolated with no social contacts. Constant said these scammers constantly create new tactics and opportunities that make them more effective at tricking people. Scam callers, especially those responsible for making scam robo calls, said Constant, are difficult to track down and prosecute because they often rig the caller ID system. For example a scammer can make the caller ID say the actual number of the SSA, making them appear to come from their organization. Rarely do they get caught, mainly because their scamming operations are run on the dark web, making it hard to be traced.

However, a man in Nashua was arrested in early October for allegedly being involved in a telemarketing scam connected to a Costa Rican-based telemarketing scheme.

Constant said the IRS and the SSA do not make phone calls to people who owe money. Instead, they send them an official statement in the mail listing the dollar amount the person owes.

Scam artists call on the phone and ask for money immediately, but do not usually specify the dollar amount they owe. Social Security frauds usually ask for the person to update their personal account information over the phone. The victims who take their bait can lose thousands of dollars.

In response to these scams, the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission have been trying to educate people on how to tell if a person is a fake IRS agent. Constant said people who receive suspicious calls should hang up right away and to report it to the FTC.

“If we all work together, we should be able to at least make a dent, at least makes some dents, in this,” Constant said.

For more information on phone scams, go to the FTC website at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams.