New Jersey residents warned of new phone scam
There is another scam New Jersey consumers are being warned about. This one involves con artists who falsely claim to represent the State Attorney General's office and call unsuspecting victims to demand immediate payment of a non-existent debt.
"This is the latest in a long line of government impostor scams, in which criminals cold-call their victims while claiming to represent the IRS, the Attorney General's Office, or some other agency," said Acting Attorney General John Hoffman. "The goal is always to con the victim into sending money, or giving away personal information and opening themselves up to identity theft."
In such scams, victims are directed to send a payment, usually by a wire transfer service or pre-loaded debit card, and/or disclose their personal or financial information. In this particular case, the scammer's phone number appears on victims' caller ID to have a 609 area code. But, there are technologies, called "spoofing," which make it possible for scammers to disguise their phone numbers and even make a phone call from overseas appear to be local.
"With the power of modern technology, it is easier than ever for scammers to mimic local phone numbers or to create e-mails, documents and websites that look like those of legitimate government entities or businesses," said Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee. "But don't be fooled. Instead, be vigilant and skeptical. Always verify what you are told, before giving anyone your money."
A "Fighting Fraud" awareness program has been launched by the Division of Consumer Affairs to educate and empower New Jersey residents to help them recognize scams and prevent victimization.
The DCA offers the following advice for consumers:
- Never send money;
- Never give away personal or financial information;
- Never click a link or attachment in an e-mail without first taking the time to make sure the communication received is valid;
- Independently verify information in e-mails, phone calls or letters;
- Never act without thinking, especially when dealing with a sales pitch or threat that says "you must act right away."
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed, call 1-800-242-5846 or 973-504-6200.