December 19, 2017
The Portsmouth Police Department has been investigating several recent mail fraud and identity theft cases involving an organized crime enterprise operating in the Portsmouth area. These organizations have been targeting local neighborhoods, and more specifically the south end of Portsmouth. These individuals are obtaining personal identities such as names, DOB’s, social security numbers, and addresses and using that information to go online and order items, specifically newly released smart phones such as the IPhone 10 and Samsung Note 8 through several different national phone carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T. They then track shipment of these products to local addresses and are approaching USPS mail carriers, UPS drivers and Fed Ex drivers in the vicinity of the address and identifying themselves as the owners of the package and providing fraudulent identification or names to attempt to obtain the items. Another approach being used is they will watch the delivery to the residence and once the package is left they will approach the residence and take the package before the home owners know a package was delivered.
The Portsmouth Police Department would like to remind residents to have alerts on your credit and bank accounts and to review them periodically for fraudulent charges and identity theft. This particular scam has been an ongoing problem nationally, but has been more prevalent locally in the last month. If you have received packages or items recently in your name that you have not ordered contact the sender and see if you may be a victim of identity theft. The Portsmouth Police Department reminds residents to keep an eye out in your neighborhoods and report any suspicious activity of people sitting in vehicles or walking around your neighborhood that is out of the ordinary.
If you have any information concerning these fraudulent scams, Portsmouth Police are asking you contact Detective Matthew Hester at (603) 610-7502.
Or you may also choose to remain anonymous by reporting any information to Seacoast Crime Stoppers by calling (603) 431-1199, texting CRIMES (274637) and including TIPSCS in the message, or you may submit a confidential tip online by visiting the Seacoast Crime Stoppers website at www.seacoastcrimestoppers.com or the Facebook page. Rewards of up to $1,000.00 may be paid for help solving cases if the information leads to the arrest or indictment of a suspect(s).
Prepared by Lieutenant Mark Newport for Chief Robert Merner