Residents warned of scams
January 21, 2016
Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey today warned that two unrelated telephone scams could potentially bilk residents out of thousands of dollars.
“These types of scams in which criminals use fear tactics for financial gain are becoming more prevalent throughout New Jersey,” Prosecutor Carey said. “These criminals often use personal information of the victims or their families to convince their targets to act. I urge all of our citizens to remain vigilant, be skeptical of such phone calls, and to contact the police if they receive such a phone call,” Prosecutor Carey said.
In one scam, Prosecutor Carey and Chief Matthew Geist of the Middlesex Borough Police Department said an investigation determined that a group of unknown individuals may call potential targets, tell them that one of their relatives has been kidnapped, and that the family must wire money to ensure the victim’s safe return.
Residents are advised that they should immediately check on the whereabouts of the alleged kidnap victim, who in reality has not been abducted, and to immediately notify police.
In one incident, a couple, whose names are being withheld, transferred thousands of dollars to various locations in Mexico before realizing there was no kidnapping and the threat was fictitious.
In the other scam, Prosecutor Carey and Chief Stephen J. Rizco of the Highland Park Police Department said thieves will contact their target and advise that as a legitimate computer services company, they need to remotely access the individual’s computer to purge a “virus.” In reality, no such virus was detected.
Once the scammers obtain access, they will lock the individual’s computer and demand cash payments to release the computer from their grip.
In one incident, the targeted victim immediately suspected a trap and hung up the phone.
An investigation is active and is continuing.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3300, or their local police department.
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