SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Within the past few months, the South Brunswick Police Department has seen an uptick in cases involving residents being victimized by fraudulent phone calls, emails and text messages.
Some of these cases ended with the residents being wary and not falling for the scam, but in other cases the thieves were convincing enough where the victims were scammed out of a considerable amount of money, according to information provided by department officials.
In an effort to prevent residents from falling victim to these types of scams, police offer the following fraud prevention tips:
- Always be suspicious of anyone demanding payment via gift cards of any type.
- Always confirm that the caller is who they say they are, and represents the entity they claim to represent. Remember that people may lie about who they really are. This includes calls from people claiming to be IRS, law enforcement, public utilities, your grandkids, etc.
- When receiving a communication from someone claiming to be a representative of a governmental agency, like a police department, Immigration, or the FBI, know that none of these agencies will accept a gift card as payment for an arrest warrant, overdue fees or bail.
- Never trust a phone number provided by the caller, and never trust caller ID to provide the correct information; the caller may be using software to block or alter the number showing on your screen.
- When contacted via text or email by someone claiming to be a friend, family member or colleague asking you to purchase gift cards and send them the codes, reach out by phone or in person to confirm they are who they say they are. Scammers have been known to spoof or hack email accounts to ply their scams.
- When someone you supposedly know contacts you looking for money and tells you not to bother calling their cell phone because it was lost, stolen, or broken, be wary. Try their phone number anyway, and be sure to confirm their identity.
- If you receive a suspicious phone call, hang up quickly. Scammers can be very convincing, and the longer they keep you on the line, the more likely they are to convince you to send money.
- If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, report it to police immediately.