MACHIAS, Maine — Machias police Chief Grady Dwelley Tuesday warned area residents about a telephone scam that involves so-called payday loans.
Dwelley said the scam involves telephone calls from a company that offers payday-type loans, which are paycheck advances of cash with a short-term payback. Some of the callers, he said, identify themselves as attorneys for the loan company.
Dwelley said the scam came to his attention when area residents, including employees of local banks, began receiving the calls in June.
“It is new here,” he said Wednesday. “But because the location of the calling parties cannot be traced, our options are limited to alerting the public. Be wary and demand proof of any claims that are made.”
Dwelley said some callers have obtained credit card information, dates of birth, confidential telephone numbers and other personal information from residents. He said the numbers most often used are 213-995-3041 and 714-441-8691.
“But these are most likely not the only numbers used,” he said. He said both of the area codes are in Los Angeles, but the calls may be made through an Internet service — voice over Internet Protocol — that allows rapid number changes and the ability to disguise where the call originates.
The chief said the main drawback is that no business name is associated with the calls.
It is also problematic “if a name is given it is so fast or the speaker has an accent that it is difficult to understand,” he said.
Residents who believe they have received such a call should contact their local police department or the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The Machias Police Department can be reached at 255-8558.