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Suffolk County Executive Bellone Warns Residents to Beware of Telephone Scams During Holiday Season

LongIsland.com

Residents are advised to check in frequently and speak with elderly friends and relatives in order to ensure they don’t fall victim to a scam.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Photo by: Suffolk County

Suffolk County, NY - November 27, 2018 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and the Suffolk County Police Department today reminded residents to beware of telephone scams during the upcoming holidays. Residents are advised to check in frequently and speak with elderly friends and relatives in order to ensure they don’t fall victim to a scam. In addition, those who believe that they may be a victim of a scam are asked to contact the police immediately on their non-emergency line by dialing 631-852-COPS.
 
“The public should be aware that certain individuals are looking to take advantage of the generosity of others during this time of year,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “We will continue to do everything we can to inform our residents, especially the elderly, of existing scams that are out there and how they can stay protected.”
 
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said: “It is sad how often people fall prey to these types of scams. Once a person is bilked out of money, it is a challenge for the department to locate a suspect, who is often out of state, and recoup the money for a victim. The department wants the public to educate themselves so that people will stop giving their hard-earned money to scammers.”
 
A number of scams, many of which target the elderly, may occur in several different forms.  Some examples of scams that have been reported include: 
 
  • A person stating they work for a utility company and threatens to shut off the utility if payment is not immediately made. In some circumstances, the funds are requested via gift card. If you have doubts about the legitimacy of a call from a utility company, call the business directly.
  • The victim is asked to wire money for a family member who is in trouble. The caller will say that the victim’s family member has been in an accident or is in jail and money is needed to rectify the situation. The caller attempts to pressure the victim to send money without verifying the family member’s whereabouts. Potential victims are advised to independently verify the threatened relative’s whereabouts and not give financial or personal information during the call.
  • The caller stating they work for a government agency, such as the IRS, and the victim will be arrested if they don’t make a payment. The IRS does not call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. If you know, or believe, that you owe taxes, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. 
For more information on common scams and how to prevent becoming a victim, visit www.suffolkpd.org.