Reports of identity theft remain stable for Princeton police


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The Princeton Police Department, in recent months, has not experienced a rise in reported identity theft scams during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

There have been a total of 10 reports of identity theft between April and May during the outbreak in Princeton.

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According to the department, the number of scam reports remain stable. Since March, the FBI has announced that the agency has seen a rise in COVID-19 fraud schemes across the country.

“Regular identity theft scams that have been pretty much steady over recent months. Nothing really new but every now and again we receive a report of a new scam or scheme,” Princeton Sgt. Mervyn Arana said. “Awhile ago we had the experience with the bitcoin scams, fake IRS schemes and incidents of fake federal agent impersonations.”

For example, on the federal agent scheme, scammers would say a family member is in jail in a place like Guatemala or Mexico and tell the individual to go out and buy gift cards. Scammers can sometimes get $1,000 or $2,000 from those gift cards, according to Arana.

“We do not expect that scams will go on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic in Princeton. We still expect the numbers to remain steady,” he said. “We monitor other police departments and what they are reporting and that is when we will warn residents.”

The department, in recent months, has received some reports of identity theft involving someone using another’s name for a credit card and has used it. Police have also encountered reports of scammers attempting to receive individual’s unemployment benefits through identity theft.

Princeton police have warned residents of potential scammers during the pandemic with a video on the the town’s website and continued updates on social media.

“When we see other schemes or scams going on in other towns, we warn residents on social media to watch for those different scams. We do that as a preventative measure. It does not mean that scams have gone up in Princeton,” Arana said. “We want to make sure people know what is occurring.”

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