Harvard police are alerting residents to be on the lookout for a phone scamming operation in which the caller claims to be from the FBI, Sgt. James Babu said.
Don't be fooled, he cautioned. It is not the FBI. It's a crook, most likely fishing for personal information.
Law enforcement officials consistently tell the public that no personal information should ever be given over the phone unless you initiated the call.
The scam caller might ask to verify a social security or credit card number, try to set up a long-distance money transfer through a third party or extract other personal information that could be used to pilfer funds from a bank account, rack up credit card debt or even steal someone's identity.
Scam calls can come from anywhere. In this case, the crooks use a "voice-over-IP" network so that the incoming number on the recipient's caller-ID won't look suspicious. "It looks like a regular number that could be the FBI," Sgt. Babu explained. Such numbers are generally untraceable.
When a resident called police on Friday, June 21, to report having received such a call, Sgt. Babu called back the number it came from and spoke to a man in Nigeria who angrily swore at him, he said.
Scary as it may sound, nobody has to be afraid of being victimized, however. The threat can be avoided with simple precautions. If someone says, "This is the FBI," just hang up, then call the police to report it, he said.
-- M.E. Jones