There are several scams that have been reported to the New Providence Police Department that residents should be aware of.
- One common con is the "grandparent scam." This is when a con artist posing as a grandchild or a friend of a grandchild will call and say they are in a foreign country, in trouble, and need money right away. When the victim answers the phone, the caller says "grandma" or "grandpa" and lets the victim supply their grandchild's name. The caller also pleads with the "grandparent" not to tell his or her "parents". Anyone getting his type of call should avoid the urge to act quickly. Talk to other family members before sending money. Most scammers will ask for a money transfer. Once a money transfer is picked up, there is very little you can do to get your money back. If someone you don't know asks you to wire money, it should be a red flag. And be cautious when people you do know ask you to wire funds. Verify that they indeed are the ones requesting the money.
- A similar scam is done by email or Facebook. A person in your contacts or "friends" list contacts you electronically and claims to have been mugged or arrested out of state or out of the country and asks for money to get home.
- Another scam reported to our department involves phone calls from an individual claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service or Department of Justice and informs the victim that he or she owes back taxes or other fees. The caller sounds official and may threaten to have the victim arrested on a warrant or subpoenaed.
"Phishing" is the use of fraudulent email designed to steal identities as well as vital personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account PINs, and passwords. Phishing emails often ask you to verify this type of information.
Scammers also go "SMishing," or phishing using text messages, by asking you to verify or confirm sensitive information. Legitimate companies never ask for your password or account number via email. Protect yourself:
- Call the company directly to determine if the email is trustworthy.
- Forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com.
- Do not reveal personal or financial information in emails.
- Contact the company directly. Do not use the contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, use contact information from account statements that you already have.
- Don't reply to the email, even if it threatens to disable your account.
Report fraud to the New Providence Police Department and to the Federal Trade Commission.