Police & Fire

Phone Scams on Rise in Madison

MADISON, NJ - The Madison Police are urging residents to be aware of several telephonic scams that attempt persuade victims to send money to a perpetrator.

The Madison Police Department issued the following guidelines that borough residents should be wary of:

The IRS Scam: An individual will contact the victim and advise them that they owe money on taxes. The scam artist will act like they are an agent and will threaten to have them arrested immediately if they do not pay. The victim is then requested to either wire money or to provide the perp with Green Dot MoneyPak card and pin numbers. Ultimately, if the victim falls prey to this scam, the money is non-recoverable.

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The Grandparent Scam: An individual will contact the elderly victim and pretend to be a grandchild who has either been arrested or is in some kind of trouble. The scam artist will convince the victim that they need money to pay for bail or some sort of attorney’s fees, usually in an amount over $1,000. In recent investigations, a common attorney name being used is “Richard Cohen”. Similar to the IRS Scam, the perp will request that the victim either wire money or provide them with the card and pin numbers for a Green Dot MoneyPak card. Again, once the money is sent or the card numbers are provided, the victim is at a loss of that money.

The Sheriff’s Department Warrant: An individual will contact the victim and advise them that there is an active warrant for their arrest and that they need to pay immediately or they will be arrested. Similar to the other scams, the victim will be ordered to supply payment over the phone by way of a Green Dot MoneyPak card. If payment is made, the victim will be at a loss.

The Craigslist Scam: Craigslist searchers are urged to be cautious of sellers referencing eBay within an advertisement. eBay uses the following warnings on their site, please be aware of:


  • Sellers who want to move the transaction from one platform to another (for example, from Craigslist to eBay Motors).
  • Sellers who claim that eBay's Vehicle Purchase Protection covers an auto transaction conducted outside the eBay site.
  • Sellers who push for speedy completion of the transaction and request payments via quick wire transfer payment systems.
  • Sellers who refuse to meet in person, or refuse to allow the buyer to physically inspect the vehicle before the purchase.
  • Transactions in which the seller and vehicle are in different locations. Criminals often claim to have been transferred for work reasons, deployed by the military, or moved because of a family circumstance, and could not take the vehicle with them.
  • Vehicles advertised at well below their market value. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.


The Lotto Scam: An individual will contact the victim to advise them that they are the winner of a lottery or a sweepstakes. The victim will then be ordered to provide money through wire transfer to cover special fees in order to collect their winnings. Once a wire transfer is complete, the money is no longer recoverable.

“We are asking any residents who experience any requests for money to not give into panic and wire or give account information over the phone or email.  For example, the IRS never would contact a taxpayer over the phone and demand payment.  They always correspond via regular mail.  These predators seem to prey on the elderly and somehow obtain personal information about their relatives.  If any residents feel they might be a victim of such scams, we request they contact the Madison police department at 973-593-3000.  The best thing to do in such situations is to hang up the phone, delete the email and ignore the requests.” said Detective Lieutenant Dennis Lam.  

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