Suffolk County, NY - April 15, 2016 - As a follow up to discussions held during the Second Precinct community meeting on April 13, 2016, Inspector Hatton would like to familiarize residents with some of the more common types of scams and what residents can do to protect themselves.
First and foremost, everyone needs to understand that there is no limit to the ingenuity of scammers on how they can separate you from your money. Their imagination knows no bounds, but they often exploit people’s sense of emotion or indicate some type of urgent necessity that requires immediate action. Often times this is accompanied by some type of threat to you should you fail to act upon their requests or demands. You must employ a healthy degree of skepticism when receiving unsolicited calls from people looking to engage you in any type of conversation in which they are asking for your money or any personal information.
A visit to the Suffolk County Police Department Scam Alert webpage is recommended. Click on Scam Alerts for more comprehensive details on some types of scams and security measures to safeguard against victimization. The following are some examples of scams seen in Suffolk County:
“YOUR GRANDSON HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND NEEDS BAIL” SCAM
Don’t be fooled. Always get detailed information concerning any such assertion you may be told. In an incident like this, the most logical response would be that you want to speak with the supposed relative, and make thorough inquiries regarding the supposed circumstances. Always verify information you may be given. You are encouraged to call the Suffolk County Police Department if you feel you need help to authenticate or discredit the call.
“THIS IS THE IRS, YOU OWE BACK TAXES” SCAM
“THIS IS THE IRS, YOU OWE & WE ARE COMING FOR YOU” SCAM
The Internal Revenue Service simply does not cold call people with tax related issues. The IRS uses the US mail to correspond with taxpayers. Refer to www.IRS.gov for further information. Don’t be fooled by demands for unpaid taxes or that an arrest warrant has been issued and agents are on the way to your home.
“THIS IS PSE&G, WE WILL SHUT OFF YOUR SERVICE” SCAM
PSEG Long Island is warning its customers to be on alert for phone and email payment scams, and thieves posing as utility workers, which could put their ﬁnancial and personal security at risk. As reported in various news outlets, burglars are posing as utility workers, contractors and surveyors. These imposters are distracting homeowners while an accomplice steals items from the home. The phone and email scam which is plaguing utilities across the country involves individuals who misrepresent themselves as utility collections representatives threatening to turn off electric service if payment is not made to them that day via a Green Dot MoneyPak. For the latest information about how to identify PSEG Long Island employees and information about the scam, please visit www.psegliny.com/scam.
“YOU’VE WON A PRIZE…” SCAM
Persons responsible for this scam call and claim that the potential victim has won a prize ranging from l-pads, vehicles, and a number of other highly desirable items. During the telephone call the caller offers to arrange delivery of the item if he/she pays the “tax” or “handling fee” using a credit card. The caller will continue with high pressure tactics and will often state that this is a one-time offer that must be completed during the call.
KIDNAP — EXTORTION SCAM
The Suffolk County Police Department has received complaints where members of the public reported receiving a telephone call from an unknown person and the caller attempts to extort the complainant. In this scam, the caller contacts an unsuspecting person and says that a relative of the prospective victim was in a car accident with the caller and that they are holding the relative hostage until a sum of money is paid to the caller. If the payment is not made, or the police are called, the caller says he will kill or seriously hurt the relative. In the incidents that we have seen here in Suffolk County, the caller asks the prospective victim to wire the money from a local shopping center or supermarket and claims that they are watching them. While the Department has seen a few variations of this scam, the premise is generally the same.
One such variation of this scam is the caller who claims that a relative of the victim is in custody by police in a foreign country for a serious crime. The subject may ask the victim to post bail for their loved one by using a credit card or providing bank information for an electronic withdrawal. Most times contacting the relative that the caller claims is in custody will show that the relative has not traveled to that location and is safe and sound.