Two men arrested for nationwide phone scam

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BERKSHIRE COUNTY, MA (NEWS10) — Two men were arrested by the Adams Police after a three-month investigation into a national organized fraud scheme.

Ajaykumar Chaudhari, 24, of Pownal, Vt. and Jitendra Chaudhari, 27, of Williamstown are facing charges of over $1,200 for larceny from a person over the age of 65 and conspiracy. Each of the charge carries state prison sentences of up to five years.

Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said the two men defrauded $300,000 from unsuspecting people.

“These types of scams involve callers attempts to create urgency, distress and trigger emotional response,” she said.

On Monday, investigators seized $50,000 in cash after a three-month long investigation. Most of the money seized has been returned to victims or is currently being held as evidence.

“If you are scammed, do not be critical of yourself. Anyone can be a victim and many scams go unreported because the victim is too ashamed to come forward,” Harrington said.

This type of fraud is not unusual. The Albany FBI is not working on this particular case, but Public Affairs Specialist Sara Ruane says it’s important to contact law enforcement immediately.

“As soon as you have an inkling that you were potentially a victim of one of these scams you’ve got to loop in law enforcement because they’ll loop in the right resources to try to figure out what if anything can be salvaged,” Ruane said.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, people lost $1.9 billion through various scams last year with imposter scams accounting for $667 million. These types of scams involve callers attempt to create urgency, distress, and trigger an emotional response.

Here are some tips gathered by the Berkshire County DA to avoid these types of scams:

• Do not engage with callers who try to pressure you into making an immediate decision or insist on
secrecy.
• Do not provide any personal information if you did not initiate the contact.
• Be wary of anyone who asks you to send cash, wire funds, send cash, or purchase prepaid cards.
• Consult with a loved one or the police department if you are unsure of anything.
• Screen phone calls. Do not answer the phone if you do not recognize the number.
• Monitor your financial records closely.
• Be careful when responding to any solicitation. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good
to be true.
• Add yourself to the Do Not Call list.
• Check Your Credit Report: Get a copy of your credit report and dispute any fraudulent transactions.
You can request credit reports online from the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) or by calling (877) 322-8228.

If you get a call, remain calm. They want you to have an emotional response. Hang up the phone immediately.

• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. Report it to your local police department and the Attorney General’s Office.
• Include date and time, name of the government agency the imposter used, what the caller told you
including the amount and payment method they requested, the phone number, and any other details.

If you are scammed, do not be critical of yourself. Anyone can become a victim and many scams go unreported because the victim is ashamed.

• Report scams to the local police department, the Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade
Commission.

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