Local Police Issue New Scam Warning

FENWICK ISLAND – Police in Fenwick Island are warning residents of a new scam that uses innocent extermination companies to gather personal information from residents.

In a Town Council meeting last week, Police Chief William Boyden relayed an isolated incident that recently occurred in Fenwick Island between an exterminator and elderly citizen.

“We had an unusual scam reported this week by one of our elderly residents and I am just bringing it to your attention,” Boyden told the council.

According to his report, Boyden said an elderly resident had an exterminator come to their door explaining that a relative had arranged an appointment to check their house for field mice. Afterward, the exterminator was instructed by the caller to call a number to arrange a payment, which would require the serviceman to ask the resident for personal information.

“The vendor or people that are supplying services are just an innocent third party,” Boyden said. “These people were exterminators from north of Lewes. So they normally don’t do business down here and they had gotten a phone call arranging this service.”

Boyden said police have traced the number from a computer-generated number out of Seattle. The number was then traced even further to one of the former Soviet republics.

The police chief said no similar incidents have been reported in Delaware and surrounding states, but asked that residents remain vigilant of any similar scams.

“I’m just warning everybody,” he said. “If someone shows up on your doorstep and you aren’t expecting them, just either call us or tell them no.”

Also in the meeting, councilmembers approved recommendations from the town treasurer to cap the Parks and Recreation fund to $10,000 and gave the Environmental Committee permission to hang an Earth Day Celebration banner off of Town Hall.

Gardner Bunting, treasurer, told the council that realty transfer tax was placed into the Parks and Recreation account, but is usually not utilized.

“We have exceeded $10,000 from that account with no large expenditures, and I think we should consider putting a cap at $10,000,” he said. “This is something I wanted the council to think about.”

In addition, Colleen Wilson of the Environmental Committee presented a request to the council that would allow the group to hang a donated three-by-eight foot banner on the north side of Town Hall for Fenwick Island’s second annual Earth Day Celebration on April 22.

The council unanimously approved the treasurer’s recommendation and Wilson’s request.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.