WEST ORANGE, NJ — Among the reports submitted to the West Orange Police Department (WOPD) in January were several instances of theft, identity theft and fraud. In two of those cases, the victims received fraudulent calls from individuals posing as social security officers; and in one instance, the caller claimed to be a member of the WOPD.
On Jan. 28, a female victim received a call from unknown individuals claiming to be from the Office of Social Security and the United States Treasury. According to the victim, the callers stated that some unknown actor had purchased five houses in her name and that her social security number would be suspended as a result if she did not pay them.
The police report explains that the victim terminated the call, but was contacted a total of three times from the same phone number. Two hours later, she received a phone call from the “West Orange Police Department” informing her that she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest and that she had been charged with money laundering in the amount of $237,789.
The callers stated that in order to vacate the arrest warrant, she would need to pay them via money order, according to the police report. She then complied with their instructions to take out three money orders in the amount of $3,800, $2,100 and $1,700 and ship the money overnight via UPS.
According to police, the victim was able to cancel one of the money orders, but was unable to cancel the others at the time of her report.
West Orange police reiterated in the report that the department made no such attempt to contact this individual and that the caller did not use the name of any individual employed by the agency.
In a similar situation one day earlier, another woman terminated contact with a suspicious caller and contacted police prior to sending funds according to the caller’s directions.
According to the police report, she told the responding officer that she had received a call from a man who identified himself as an officer from the “Social Security Administration.” The caller told her that she was under investigation for a series of fraudulent acts and was facing the possibility of legal punishment should she refuse to comply with his investigation.
The victim provided her pedigree information as well as banking information for multiple accounts, according to police. She then complied with the caller’s instructions to withdraw a combined $21,900 from those accounts, but ultimately terminated contact after being on the phone with him for a non-consecutive total approximately two hours via different phone numbers.
According to police, the victim refused to send any funds in compliance with his directions, but was advised to put a freeze on her current accounts. West Orange police provided her with an ID Theft package to be returned at a later date.
Click on the headlines below to read more West Orange police news from January 2020: