UNION COUNTY, NJ – In a case being investigated by Union County authorities, an elderly Maryland resident recently reported he received a phone call from a person identifying himself as a Union County “district attorney” who falsely told the victim that his grandson had been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide.  The caller had the victim wire nearly $5,500 in several separate wire transfers, purportedly in order to provide his grandson with a public defender.

Union County residents are being warned of the recent increase in attempted scams by callers alleging to be members of law enforcement with a request for money via wire transfer, according to a statement from acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Union County Sheriff Joseph P. Cryan on Thursday.

No government business regarding financial transactions is conducted by phone, according to the press release.  Law enforcement agencies involved in all New Jersey Superior Court matters exclusively send formal paperwork via standard U.S. mail.

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The Township of Union police alerted residents on Tuesday to recent scam IRS calls.  Police advised residents not to return these calls nor provide any information to the caller.  Police indicate that the IRS does not make robocalls.

In another case reported by Union County, a person claiming to be a member of the Sheriff’s Office gave a Union County resident a fictitious name and badge number and requested that the victim contact him.  The recipient of the call instead informed authorities.

In a third case, an elderly Westfield resident received a phone call from a person claiming to be an attorney who falsely reported that his grandson had been arrested in New York and that he needed $1,900 for bail.  The victim traveled to a local Western Union branch, where an employee talked him out of sending the money. 

“These callers are clearly attempting to prey on some of our most vulnerable residents, and we are urging members of the public to remain vigilant and report to us any such incidents they encounter,” acting Prosecutor Park said.

“It’s imperative that we spread the word about these attempted scams in an effort to ensure that as few people as possible fall victim to them,” Sheriff Cryan said.  “We in law enforcement do not request wire transfers of money for any reason, and anyone calling, falsely identifying themselves as police, and asking for such is performing an illegal act.”

Anyone who feels they or someone they know may have been a victim of a scam of this nature, should contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Dennis Donovan at 908-527-4558 or Sheriff’s Office Detective Charles Mancuso at 908-527-4493.