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Photos by Anthony Giudice/QNS
Photos by Anthony Giudice/QNS
Captain Mark Watcher alerted people of scams going on across the 104th Precinct during Tuesday's 104th Precinct Community Council meeting.

It may be the season for giving, but don’t give away your hard-earned money and personal information to thieves and scammers.

That was the warning Captain Mark Wachter, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, gave during the 104th Precinct Community Council meeting on Nov. 15 in Maspeth.

“People are really reinventing the wheel on what they are doing to scam people,” Wachter said.

One type of scam Wachter informed those in attendance about was eBay scams.

In these scams, people purchase items up for bid on eBay, and when they receive the item they claim something is wrong with it and request their money back. When they get their money back, they never return the item and make off with both the item and the money.

“Anybody could become a victim of this, including myself,” Wachter said. “A little word of advice if you use eBay, PayPal [and] all this stuff: make sure you get the product back before you actually refund the person.”

Another scam the precinct commander warned of is loan scams. In this type of scam, a fake company — usually based out of state — says that they will give you a low mortgage rate if you pay them.

This actually happened to a local resident who, for months was paying a fake mortgage company, expecting them to make payments to the bank, but they were just pocketing the money.

“Before you know it, you think you don’t have to pay Ridgewood Savings Bank anymore for your mortgage because this company supposedly took it over,” Wachter said, “and they didn’t.”

One scam that has been plaguing residents of northeast Queens, and is expanding to other parts of the borough, are mail fishing scams. There was a case of type of scam happening in Middle Village a few weeks back, Wachter confirmed.

“Basically what happens is, if you write a check, these people put it in a special solution and it basically takes off the name and the amount of the check,” Wachter said. “Cleaning the check they call it. Then they write it out to whoever they want. They sell special pens that you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim of this crime.”

As the holidays approach, Wachter reminded those in attendance to not become victims of crimes of opportunity. He said to always be aware of where your belongings are while out shopping and do not leave bags of items in your car because if thieves see that, they may try to break in and steal them.

The Precinct Council also presented Police Officer Malik Hirani the Cop of the Month Award. Hirani works the midnight patrol across the precinct and is responsible for making nine DWI arrests this year.

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