Concord businesses beware: Hoax caller pretends to be from Intown Concord organization

  • People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Monitor staff
Published: 5/5/2021 2:27:22 PM

It’s not clear if it’s a hoax or a scam or just a weird prank, but one thing is clear: Intown Concord wishes it would stop.

“It’s so bizarre. We’ve never dealt with anything like this before. We’ve been apologizing when people call about it, (saying) ‘It’s not us!’ ” said Jessica Martin, executive director of the downtown group known for putting on the city’s annual Market Days celebration in the summer and Winter Fest at the end of January, among other events.

The problem is a man who has been calling city stores and businesses, as well as groups as varied as the Concord Fire Department, is claiming to be an event director for Intown Concord and trying to get participation for Market Days in August. Sometimes he asks for fees but not always; sometimes he gets the dates wrong. Often, he just irritates people.

“He’s super rude to people. He swears at them,” Martin said. “It’s very confusing. It’s not clear what he’s doing. Sometimes he doesn’t even ask for money – he didn’t ask the fire department.”

Martin said she has heard of calls from “all over town” for at least the last two weeks. The group has contacted the Concord Police Department, which determined that the phone number has been spoofed, meaning the calls are coming from a number different than the one which appears on the receiving phone.

Judging from the people she has talked to, Martin said, the caller’s approach gets in the way of any attempt to get money. “He’s so rude in his approach … that people can smell a rat in the conversation.”

Still, she’s worried that he might be trying to fool people about groups other than just Intown Concord. Martin suggested that people never respond immediately to cold calls seeking donations but instead ask for information and then reach out to the nonprofit directly.

There’s no lead about who’s doing this, although Martin said they’re suspicious about one person.

“From time to time, we get a phone call from a gentleman asking questions about our events – it’s odd because he won’t give any information when we ask him,” she said.

As a result, they’ve stopped answering questions over the phone and tell people to go to the website instead.

“It’s just discouraging to be associated with somebody like that,” Martin said.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)


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