WOODLAND PARK, NJ - The Woodland Park Police Department warns residents that scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been targeting the elderly population in particular. There are a variety of scams being attempted. Here are some examples:
CONTACT TRACING - A new COVID-19 contact tracing scam has been reported in all 21 counties in the state. Legitimate contact tracers are vital to detecting how and where COVID-19 has spread, however scammers are targeting people in order to steal private information. It can begin with a call or text where they note you might have come into contact with an individual who was a case of COVID-19. A contract tracer will NEVER ask for your Social Security number, your bank or credit card number or your insurance information over text or over the phone.
BAIL BOND SCAM - The criminal will call and say their grandchild was arrested. The criminal may or may not provide the grandchild’s name. In some cases, a person is placed on the phone pretending to be the grandchild. The criminal will ask that you post a sum of money in order for the grandchild to be released from jail and ask for your home address to pick up the money. The criminal may give you instructions on what to say to a bank teller if you are questioned.
IRS SCAM - A victim will be called and told that they owe the government money and if they don’t pay they will be arrested. To avoid being arrested, they must pay the debt by way of a MoneyGram or gift cards. The IRS will NEVER call you and pressure you into settling your tax debt with a MoneyGram or gift card.
The Police Department is available 24/7 should you have any concerns. Call 973-345-8111 to speak to dispatch and tell them that you would like to speak to an officer in regard to a possible scam attempt. You can also contact the Detective Bureau at 973-345-8116 or email email@example.com to contact Det. Sgt. Renne.