Police & Fire

Residents: Beware of Phone Scams

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Editor's Note:  This is being published in North Plainfield, Green Brook and Watchung  to make residents aware of these phone scams happening in neighboring towns.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield residents and residents in neighboring towns are receiving phone calls from people claiming to be with the United States Treasury Department. The caller asks for a money wire and threatens legal action for non-compliance. 

Local authorities would like to remind residents that the Internal Revenue Service will never ask for a credit or debit card over the phone. They will never insist that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations.

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In addition to the phony IRS calls, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, in a Jan. 28 press release warned of other telephone scams that could potentially bilk residents out of the thousands of dollars.

In one scam, according to Prosecutor Carey and Chief Matthew Geist of the Middlesex Borough Police Department, an investigation determined that a group of unknown individuals call potential targets, tell them that  a relative has been kidnapped, and demand money be wired to ensure the victim’s safe return. Police are advising residents to immediately check on the whereabouts of the alleged kidnap victim, who in reality was not abducted, and to immediately notify the police.

In another scam, an elderly South Plainfield couple was having breakfast at a local fast food chain when they were approached by two men asking if the gentleman was a veteran. When he responded that he was, the scammers asked if he would like to participate in a documentary regarding local veterans and asked for his phone number and so they would get back in touch with him when they were ready to film the documentary.

A few days later the man received a call from someone claiming money was needed immediately to help a family member injured in a car accident.  Fortunately, the South Plainfield resident thought to ask a few questions, which the scammer couldn’t answer and hung up.

In yet another scam, Prosecutor Carey and Chief Stephen J. Rizco of the Highland Police Department said thieves contacted their targets and advised them that they were a legitimate computer company that needed to remotely access the individual’s personal computer in order to purge a ‘virus.’ In reality, no such virus exists but once the scammers obtain access, the scammers will lock the individual’s computer and demand cash payments to release the computer from their grip.

 The South Plainfield Police and local police departments throughout the area would like to remind residents to report any suspicious activity.  Law enforcement also urges resident not to share personal information over the phone or when approached by strangers in your daily routine.

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