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HPD warns of scammers pretending to be police

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

The Hopkinton Police Department issued a warning to residents of a recent phone scam targeting Hopkinton residents that appears to come from the police department’s business line.

“The caller ID is being ‘spoofed’ and the call is not legitimate,” HPD stated on its Facebook page. “Some callers are claiming to be members of the department. Please be advised that these calls are fraudulent.”

The police log released on Tuesday confirms this trend. On Friday, a caller on Locust Lane reported at 9:27 a.m. that his wife received two calls from someone claiming to be from the Hopkinton Police Department “within the last 20 minutes.” Dispatcher Carmen Y. Cifuentes, who answered the resident’s call, told him that she had been in the station since 7 a.m. and made no such calls.

“[T]hey are most likely scams, as it’s not the first time it has happened,” she noted in the report. “[I] advised him to not answer these calls and advised him of our phone number in case we ever did need to contact him,”

At 11:42 that morning, a report was filed in the police station by residents who stated that they were called by someone 20 minutes prior who identified themselves as a Hopkinton police officer. This person “told them that they needed to contact another police agency for an affidavit.”

Cifuentes, who also took this report, said there was no officer in the department by the name the residents were given.

“[T]hey were specifically concerned because the individual had information about them,” Cifuentes noted in the report. “[I] told them unfortunately the Internet provides a lot of information on everyone.”

Cifuentes added that the residents were fearful that the purported officer might try to break into their home “because they felt that the caller wanted them to leave their home.” She said she would alert other officers and request extra property checks in that neighborhood.

In an interview with the Independent Tuesday, Detective Sergeant Scott van Raalten said that people impersonating officers “is not really new.”

“Nowadays what look like official police uniforms are available on eBay,” he said. “They use them to impersonate officers.”

He recalled a case in Shrewsbury where the police department released a bulletin about a man impersonating a police officer in what looked like a police uniform. According to a news report, he was driving a 2000 white Chevrolet Impala with red and blue flashing lights in the front windshield, prompting a female motorist to stop her car because she assumed it was a police car.

HPD advised residents in its Facebook post to hang up and not give out any personal or financial information, noting that department members would only call on police business and not to solicit this information. If calls like this are received, call the police station at 508-497-3401 to make a report.

To help identify scams, HPD provided this informational link.

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