Don’t fall for this rotten apple phone scam

apple logoBy Sabina Mollot

The latest phone scam to irritate New Yorkers struck this past week, with numerous residents of Stuyvesant Town reporting they were called by someone claiming to be from Apple.

Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, said she received at least six of those calls on Sunday, and while she wasn’t fooled, “It’s enough to make you want to pull the phone out of the wall,” she said.

A bunch of neighbors also reported receiving the same on the association’s Facebook page over the weekend.

Like with similar scams in which the caller pretends to be from the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Treasury and Microsoft, recipients receive a call from an automated voice, instructing them to call back.

In this case, callers are informed that their iCloud account has been hacked and their data is in jeopardy. Steinberg first got called in the morning, getting a barrage of followup calls throughout the day.

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Phone scammers pretend to be police, con woman out of $30G

Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The 13th Precinct is warning residents about a new influx of phone scams after a local woman was conned out of $30,000 when she got a call from who she thought was the police.

Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, told people attending a meeting held by the precinct’s Community Council last Tuesday that the woman got a call from what she thought was the 81st precinct. The person calling her told her there was a warrant for her arrest and demanded payment in iTunes cards.

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Man arrested for Section 8 scam

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 33-year-old Carlos Angulo Delgado for petit larceny last Monday at 7 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct. Police said that Delgado told the victim that she would be placed at the top of an apartment waiting list in exchange for cash.

Police said that a victim flagged an officer down in the street because Delgado allegedly claimed to be a New York City employee who promised the victim that he would help her obtain Section 8 housing. The victim told police that she paid Delgado $1,000 for his services on May 28 at 570 West 207th Street and refused to pay any more because Delgado did not have employee identification on him. Police said that they recovered a binder from Delgado containing Section 8 paperwork. According to the DA’s office, the binder had records for at least 10 other individuals relating to Section 8 housing, in which victims allegedly gave Delgado cash in exchange for priority treatment for Section 8 housing. The DA’s office said that incidents dated back to September 2016.

No further information was available about where the Section 8 housing Delgado allegedly offered was.

Cops looking for man who duped elderly woman out of $2G for ‘bail’

Scam suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who duped an elderly Peter Cooper Village resident out of $2,000, claiming it was bail she’d need to pay to free a friend who was arrested.

The man called the victim, a 93-year-old woman, at home on Friday, May 26 to say that a friend of hers was arrested and at Rikers Island. He then informed her the bail would cost her $6,500. When the victim said she only had $2,000, the scammer then arrived at her home to collect the cash. Afterwards, the victim got suspicious and called her friend, who, it turned out, had not been arrested.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for punching senior, Drunk driver arrested after fleeing accident

MAN ARRESTED FOR PUNCHING SENIOR AND ANOTHER VICTIM IN KIPS BAY
Police arrested 38-year-old Earl Davis for assault at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 29th Street last Tuesday at 9:47 a.m. after he allegedly punched two strangers in the face unprovoked, one of whom was a senior. Davis allegedly approached a 30-year-old victim and punched him in the nose, causing his nose to bleed and causing severe swelling and redness. The victim was taken to NYU Langone Medical Center.
Davis was charged with the second assault this past Monday after a 70-year-old man reported that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack in front of 369 Third Avenue at 27th Street earlier on that same Tuesday. Davis is being evaluated in the psychiatric unit at Bellevue Hospital, police said, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said that Davis has not been arraigned yet.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER ARRESTED AFTER FLEEING ACCIDENT
Police arrested 24-year-old Dominic Logue for unauthorized use of vehicle and intoxicated driving at the corner of Irving Place and East 16th Street last Monday at 11:43 a.m. Police said that Logue was sitting in the passenger’s seat of the car south of East 14th Street in the Ninth Precinct and an officer told him that the car wasn’t allowed to be parked there, so he got into the driver’s seat to move it. In the process, he allegedly crashed into four other vehicles. Police said that Logue smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech, and after causing the damage, he allegedly attempted to flee the scene. Logue was also charged as an unlicensed operator, leaving the scene of an accident and an unclassified traffic infraction. No injuries were reported as a result of the collision.

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Sidewalks (better) get a lot clearer soon

On September 13, the Board of Health met and passed the following with respect to Health Code 161.03 which bears on dog waste on sidewalks and other public places:

Ҥ161.03 Control of dogs and other animals to prevent nuisance.

(a) A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway, sidewalk, lawn, garden or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall [or], stairway or entranceway of a building abutting on a public place.”

I’m told this statement of the regulation will go into effect around October 21.

The new statement makes clear that 161.03 applies to both public and private property.  This means that dog owners in STPCV would have to abide by the same rules by which other dog owners in the city are charged to abide. That is, dogs must be curbed, the waste picked up and discarded.

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Letters to the Editor, July 14

June23 Toon Everest

Time to do something about noise in Stuy Town

The following is an open letter to Stuyvesant Town management with regards to noise in the complex and following it is a response from Rick Hayduk, general manager. Both letters have been edited for length.

The violations of (city law on noise control) are as follows:

Beeping, powerful, motorized gas engine maintenance vehicles that are constantly travelling through the development.

The loud, echoing playground basketball courts (Playground #11) right beside the Avenue C Loop and several other buildings, and directly below apartment windows, that remains open daily from 9 a.m. until dusk, circus tented from November to April, which are absurd hours of usage and which is utilized by very few compared to the total number of 30,000 residents. Because there are basketball courts in Playground #9, the Playground #11 should be relegated to only volleyball courts, more of which can be added, and the current ping pong tables. PCV/ST is not a day camp, a boys/girls club, a country club, etc. It is meant to be a noiseless, unique community.

Loud, roaring leaf blowers, which create noises comparable to being in a construction zone.

Barking dogs, banging/flipping skateboarders, shouting residents in the late evenings or early mornings, and loud, noisy maintenance workers who have no regard for tenants’ quality of life.

Maintenance workers removing the garbage from in between the Avenue C Loop, in the morning hours, using loud, wheeled carts to transport the garbage to the waiting truck in the street, shouting while they do it, then loudly throwing the bottle filled bags onto the trucks. There needs to be different wheels on the carts and the workers advised to be quiet.

All the sounds, even conversations, travel up into the surrounding apartments. There should be an instituted policy, with rules, signs in the street and on the sidewalks, and written guidelines, including enforcement by security/NYPD, to eliminate undue noise nuisances. I have a home office and patrons visit my apartment on occasion. They expect a quiet environment and so do I.

Thank you for your prompt attention to these matters.

Stuart J. Levinson, ST

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Treasury dept. phone scammer threatens T&V editor with jail

By Sabina Mollot

Scam callers purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service or the U.S. Department of the Treasury have been duping people around the country in increasing numbers by threatening them with lawsuits, liens and even arrest, as Town & Village has previously reported this year. Our coverage was after waves of calls targeted the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village neighborhoods, the caller consistently leaving a cryptic message in a robotic voice, demanding call backs — or else.

But now, there appears to be a slight variation in tactics.

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg, who was one of the targets threatened with arrest in a Department of the Treasury Scam a few months back (she didn’t call back), told T&V on Friday, June 24, she got a similar call. Like the earlier one, the caller claimed an enforcement action before the United States Treasury. But this time, there was a real person’s voice on the other end, supposedly belonging to someone named Kevin Mason. His number was 914-373-7079 and his last sentence before ending the call was “Call us back and help us help you.” (Again, Steinberg didn’t call this number.)

T&V’s editor, the author of this article, did call back the number, however, and was promptly threatened with five years in the big house by “Jordan Smith.”

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Letters to the Editor: Mar. 24

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

When an inspector pays a call

This is to compliment Stuyvesant Town Public Safety Department and specifically Officer Brooks and the Public Safety Officers who were sent to my aid upon request. Also, this is an alert to your readership.

With illegal calls from the “supposed IRS” and recent alerts about phony Con Edison representatives making rounds, both scams having had been brought to my attention by Town & Village, there is another concern that I would like to share with our neighbors.

Last week, a would-be inspector from the Department of Buildings rang me from the intercom downstairs and wanted me to let him in to inspect my apartment. I advised him I had not requested his visit, I did not know who he was, if he had authority to inspect my apartment I should not have to buzz him in, and I would not do so.

Within minutes, he was ringing my bell and again I told him I would not let him in without a management escort. I immediately called Public Safety and spoke with Officer Brooks, who stayed on the phone with me while sending two Public Safety officers to come and escort the man into my apartment. Though this man had ID, it could have been fake.

Though he supposedly had had a complaint, it was not applicable to my apartment. He spent less than a minute in my apartment.

I want to thank Officer Brooks who was very thoughtful, staying on the line with me,  the Public Safety Officers who responded so quickly and efficiently, and especially management for providing us with a safe environment.

Also, I wanted to alert all tenants to not ever open their door to someone uninvited and to call Public Safety at (212) 598-5233 for an escort for “the visitor” if there is ever any doubt that someone has authority to enter their apartment.

Sincerely,

Kay Vota, ST

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Criminals posing as Con Edison workers to get into people’s homes

Feb25 Con Ed

Con Ed plant (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

 

Following an incident in which a man robbed an elderly woman at knifepoint in Coney Island by pretending to be an employee of Con Edison, the utility has issued a warning to New Yorkers to be wary of anyone claiming to be from the company and needing access to their apartments.

The Brooklyn robbery also followed other similar crimes, Allan Drury, a spokesperson for Con Ed said, noting that scammers have used the company’s name those times too.

Last Monday, a pair of thugs claiming to be from Con Ed got into a woman’s home before sexually assaulting her while her daughter was in the house, Pix11 reported. The 26-year-old victim was tied to a table and sexually assaulted.

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Letters to the Editor: Feb. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Why Garodnick should aim higher

Re: Story, “Garodnick’s $1.M campaign war chest,” T&V, Jan. 21

Your page one article notes a Daily News anonymous source:

Hon. Dan Garodnick, our City Council Member, “may be looking towards the comptroller or attorney general seat if they open up.”

Page 50 of this week’s New York Observer, however, quotes comptroller Tom DiNapoli:

“The secret is that being comptroller is the best job in state government.

“I don’t want people to know that so they don’t come after my job.

“There’s still more work to do here,” he continues.

Accordingly, that job doesn’t seem to be opening up.

This begs two questions:

(i) Who, including the days of Tammany Hall, was ever elected directly to statewide office from the New York City council?

(ii) If Hon. Dan Garodnick wants to make a statewide name for himself, he should challenge Governor Cuomo. If I was his strategist, I’d say strive for the gold.

Dan was preempted from the city comptroller’s primary and, subsequently, had to concede from the speaker’s race. He’s not winning statewide office.

And remember, he balked when considering running a primary against Brad Hoylman because he wanted to be close to home. Therefore, his considering statewide options seems quite a shift from the geographic priorities he set for himself fewer than four years later. After all, he’d have to spend more time in Albany in statewide office than members of the legislature do.

So if I were part of his brain trust, I’d have him make a statewide name for himself by running a gubernatorial primary against Andrew Cuomo.

And if his strategists don’t realize that runners up in Gubernatorial primaries are memorable while runners up in AG and comptroller primaries are not, then they’re not worth their commissions.

Billy Sternberg, ST

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First Ave. lounge still noisy, say neighbors

Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Attendance at the first 13th Precinct Community Council meeting of 2016 was surprisingly high considering the event was on Tuesday, a bitterly cold evening.

But residents who live on First Avenue at East 18th Street above Visana, the relatively new pizza place that becomes a lounge at night, were motivated by what they complained is excess noise.

There have already been a couple of community council meetings in recent months to complain about the noise from this space. One resident was at the meeting this week with similar complaints, noting that on one recent evening, it was particularly loud because a party bus was parked in front of the establishment.

Owner David Jaffee, who has said previously that he wants to work with the community to resolve any ongoing issues, was at the meeting and said that this was the first time that there has been a party bus parked outside the business. Jaffee argued that he and his business partner are responsive to residents in the area but he noted that the resident who was at the meeting never reached out to him at the time to complain about the issue.

“We try to be proactive,” he said. “I went outside and spoke to the driver but the driver refused to move.”

But the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, who has held meetings with Jaffee on this issue in the past, wasn’t satisfied with the owner’s attempts to mitigate the noise problems.

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Residents threatened with arrest in latest scam

 

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg was one of the recipients of a call currently targeting the community. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
Last week, Town & Village reported on a phone scam in which the caller claims to be from the IRS and suing the person being called. While variations on the scam have been reported nationwide for some time, there seemed to be a recent rash of phone calls to Peter Cooper Village residents.

Meanwhile, this week, a similar, but even more sinister phone scam has hit Stuyvesant Town.

One resident who received a call was ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg. Like in the previous scam, the caller used a computer generated, female voice when leaving a message on the answering machine. From that voice, however, came a no-nonsense threat of arrest to the person being called over allegations of tax fraud. The caller claimed to be Officer Smith from the United States Treasury who was warning that this was a final notice before the case ends up in Federal Claims Court or an arrest.

“Make sure you call us as soon as possible,” the voice added, after making the arrest threat. The call came from what appeared to be a Los Angeles-based number.

“Why would someone in Los Angeles call New York about tax fraud?” asked Steinberg, who was aware of the scam, and certainly didn’t buy it.

However, she wondered if the perpetrators knew something about the ages of the people they were calling.

“I don’t know if they have statistics on age, but I suspect they’re targeting people who are older,” she said.

Another resident who got the call around the same time as Steinberg, on Tuesday afternoon, also said she wouldn’t be calling back.

The resident, Kay Vota, said she read about the IRS scam in T&V last week, and guessed the scammers were “getting found out. So they’re going to change the way they’re doing it.”

A rep for the IRS last week told T&V said the unknown perps of that scam work from overseas, using technology to change their caller ID to make it seem as though the number is coming from Washington, DC or another local area. Once in contact with a mark, they’ve been known to threaten to sue or deport a victim or put liens on their properties if they don’t make payments using prepaid debit cards or other untraceable means of transfer.

As for the “Department of Treasury” calls, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General has issued a warning online at http://www.treasury.gov, confirming that they are from scammers.

“These callers have been described as threatening or abusive, and tell victims they need to make immediate payment to forestall arrest.  THESE ARE FRAUDS.  PLEASE EXERCISE CAUTION IN YOUR DEALINGS WITH ANYONE PURPORTING TO BE FROM A GOVERNMENT AGENCY AND DEMANDING MONEY OR INFORMATION,” the alert said.

It also mentioned a similar scam in which call recipients are told they’re getting grants, but then told they must pay a fee so that the funds are released.

“Likewise, e-mails promising a sum of money and purporting to be from the Treasury Secretary or his staff are false,” it said.

A spokesperson for the department said he couldn’t comment on the call without hearing it, but referred to the online alert.

IRS scammers target Peter Cooper residents

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier this week, a Peter Cooper Village resident received a robo-call that supposedly came from the Internal Revenue Service. The mechanical female voice that came through his answering machine informed the resident that he was being sued. To get more information about the legal action, the resident was instructed to call a number that appeared to be from a line in Washington state.

A day after the man shared this story with a neighbor, Marcia Robinson, Robinson received an eerily similar call, this one with a number that appeared to be local to Washington, DC. She then phoned a neighbor in her building to tell her about it, and that neighbor informed Robinson that she too had been contacted with the same message, and believed it was a scam.

“None of us called back,” said Robinson. Their caution was fortunate, since, according to a spokesperson for the IRS, such calls are indeed a scam, and one that is being run with more and more frequency, nation-wide.

IRS rep Patricia Svarnas explained, “It’s a huge scam going on right now and it’s one of our biggest issues.”

While the perpetrators are unknown, what is known is that they are overseas, using technology to alter their caller ID. The numbers will appear to be local, usually from Washington, DC, “to make it look official.”

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Cops warn of spike in scams, larcenies: Crime down overall, but scam calls, pick-pocketings and assaults are up

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

Deputy Inspector Dave Ehrenberg at the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector Dave Ehrenberg at the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

At the 13th Precinct Community Council’s most recent monthly meeting this past Tuesday, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg told residents about the slight decrease in overall crime for the area in the last month, although there has been a spike in larcenies.

The number of grand larcenies jumped by 7.7 percent in the last month, although Ehrenberg noted that the precinct is still down 4.9 percent for the year. He said that there has been an increase in pickpockets, as well as an increase in cons.

“There’s a new scam that criminals have been trying, where they use information about people’s family and medical conditions,” the commanding officer said. “There have been phone calls from people that the victims know.”

He noted that the phone calls are not actually from people known to the victim but are criminals who have managed to fake a phone number and manipulate the caller ID.

Ehrenberg added that there has also been an increase in ransom call scams, where criminals will call a victim and demand money for a ransom, but he noted that this was a known scam and that anyone receiving such a call should notify 911 immediately.

The commanding officer also noted that there has been a specific increase in grand larcenies of unattended property in restaurants and despite the recent arrest of suspects thought to be responsible for some of these crimes, he warned residents not to be careless with their property while sitting in restaurants in the neighborhood, specifically in eating establishments around Union Square.

“You have to be aware of your personal belongings,” he said.

There has also been an increase in murder for the precinct, which Ehrenberg said was due to the shooting that took place at Home Depot at the end of January ahead of the season’s first big snow storm. A former employee had gone in to confront one of the store managers, shot him and ultimately shot himself.

Inspector Ehrenberg said that the scene was especially chaotic because the store was so busy with people who were preparing for the snow, but commended both civilians and officers for their quick response. Before police arrived, witnesses had taken it upon themselves to perform CPR on the shooting victim and police continued until EMS arrived.

Felony assaults also increased 18.2 percent in the past month, and Inspector Ehrenberg said this was especially notable because half of these incidents were domestic violence. In two of the cases, Ehrenberg said that the suspects had been involved in domestic violence previously with other partners. He added that the increases were also due to an assault on a lieutenant and on nurses at Bellevue who were assaulted while attending to patients.

Robberies were down 14.3 percent for the precinct in the last month and burglaries were down 63 percent.

Inspector Ehrenberg honored the Cop of the Month from both last month and this month, since the officer last month wasn’t able to attend the meeting to be recognized for his work. Officer Phil McGovern was given the award for January for work that he did last December when a child was choking at Blue Smoke on East 27th Street. He was able to dislodge what was blocking the child’s airway before the EMS arrived by using the version of the Heimlich maneuver that is performed on children.

The commanding officer noted that some of the bad press the police department has been receiving in the last few months has overshadowed the officers who have been working hard, so he wanted to acknowledge the good work that McGovern had done.

Officer Jason Negron was given the honor for this month for making an arrest on a suspect who had been noted on a “wanted” poster and was responsible for a number of grand larcenies in various precincts throughout the city.

Detective Ray Dorrian announced at the meeting that the Citizens Police Academy would be starting up soon and the precinct is now accepting applications. He noted that anyone interested in the program can get an application by contacting him at (212) 477-7427.

Community Council President Frank Scala encouraged those at the meeting to take the course, saying that he had taken it before and had found it very useful.

“For that week you are a police officer and you learn a lot of things in it,” he said.