Police: Beware of scams

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The West Milford Township Police Department would like to issue a warning to residents in regard to a continuing pattern of phone and internet scams.

There has recently been an increase in activity directed primarily at senior citizens, according to a release by police. Residents are advised to use caution if contacted by phone or e-mail and asked to send money or supply your personal information to an anonymous person or agency.

Recently, police said, there have been several "alarming incidents" where a resident is contacted by a person impersonating an IRS agent who informs the resident that they owe money to the government. They then request bank account information or demand money be sent to rectify the debt.

Another incident involved a resident being contacted by an unidentified man who said he was a police officer from California. The caller gave the resident false information about his grandson and directed him to send $2,500 in the form of a Money Pack card to assist his grandson.

There have also been many instances in which an e-mail is sent in regard to computer virus issues. The anonymous sender requests a sum of money to be sent in the form of either pre-paid debit/money cards or via Western Union so that the virus can be cleaned from the computer.

Police also warned of an internet scam with the E-Z Pass system. An e-mail is sent informing people that they owe money to the Port Authority and will be fined for non-compliance.

All of these are scams, police warn.

West Milford police recommend that residents do not give personal banking information or send money in any form until they have ascertained whether or not they are communicating with a legitimate agency.

"The persons engaging in this activity demonstrate an increased level of sophistication and have been evolving and developing new and creative ways to defraud unwitting residents," according West Milford Police Chief Timothy Storbeck. "It is recommended that residents remain vigilant and if they have any doubt as to the validity of any communication they receive, they should contact the police department before they send money or release personal information to an anonymous source."

Have you been target of a phone or email scam? Let us know. Send us your story at njoffice@strausnews.com.

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