HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ - Acting Hunterdon County Prosecutor Michael J. Williams and Acting Chief of Detectives Frank R. Crisologo said there has been an increase recently in confidence schemes, according to a release.
"The recent rise in scams is not isolated to Hunterdon County alone," Williams said in the release. "The surrounding counties are also experiencing this surge in crime. In the most recent instance, a victim received a telephone call from a man claiming to be a bail bondsman."
During the conversation, Williams said, a female subject began speaking with the victim and pretended to be the victim's granddaughter. The victim, he said, was convinced and gave cash to a supposed attorney for the granddaughter.
The man who gave the name of George Reid, Williams said, was described as a young, tall, white male with no facial hair. A blue vehicle was used in the commission of the crime.
Nearly all the schemes, Williams said, revolve around the victim sending money, giving account information or disclosing other personal information like passwords.
Those who receive unsolicited communications either by email or telephone that involves money, credit card, Pay pal, gift cards, wire transfers, social security, bank accounts or any other account information should know it is likely it is a scheme to steal either money or identity in an effort to access accounts.
They suggest a number of precautions to avoid becoming a victim:
- Do not reply to emails or links attached to unsolicited emails
- Do not engage in conversations, especially about money, with anyone you don't know
- If you are suspicious, call the company or agency being represented
- Recognize scare tactics, which are used to demand money or personal information via telephone calls, emails, threats of bad credit, arrest, investigation or an audit.
"While the threat to our senior citizens is of great concern because of their vulnerabilities and trusting nature, it is important that all citizens remain alert to these types of criminal activity," Williams said in the release. "Citizens who receive suspicious calls or emails demanding money should contact their local police department and report the incident. Vigilance is important. In law enforcement, our best weapon against crime is an educated and knowledgeable public. We encourage citizens to spread the information via their social media to discuss it with their families and neighbors."