❗ A New Jersey woman lost $30,000 to a computer scam

❗ Police have issued an urgent warning

❗ Here is how to protect yourself

Computer and email scams are nothing new. New Jersey residents lose tens of millions of dollars to various scams every year.

Police in Nutley issued an urgent alert after a resident was scammed out of $30,000.

Police Director Alphonse Petracco said the victim was a 76-year-old woman who had gotten an email "advising her to contact technical support."

When the woman called the number provided in that email, Petracco says she was shown fake TD Bank documentation that showed her accounts had been jeopardized and "a fraudster walked her through a $30,000.00 withdrawal."

After she visited several banks to collect the money, police say a person came to her door to collect the cash.

Nutley police vehicle
Nutley police vehicle (Nutley police)

The scammers weren't done, though.

Petracco says they tried to get another $15,000 on Tuesday. That's when the police were called, and they arrested 49-year-old Huihua Chen of Flushing, NY.

The investigation is ongoing as is the search for more accomplices.

"We urge our residents to continue their vigilance and never provide personal information or money to someone without first speaking with family members or police," said Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo.

Police would like anyone that may have observed suspicious activity on Mapes Ave Monday or Tuesday are asked to contact police 973-284-4940.

How these tech scams work

There are several versions, but all try to convince you something is wrong with your computer or that personal information and/or bank accounts have been compromised.

Microsoft stresses that legitimate "Microsoft error and warning messages never include phone numbers."

Artur GettyImages
Artur GettyImages

According to a notice on the Microsoft website:

🔺 Scammers may call you directly on the phone and pretend to be representatives of a tech company. They might even spoof the caller ID so that it displays a legitimate support phone number from a trusted company. They'll probably ask you to install applications that give them remote access to your device. Using remote access, these experienced scammers can misrepresent normal system messages as signs of problems.

🔺 Scammers might also initiate contact by displaying fake error messages on websites you visit, displaying support numbers and enticing you to call. They may also put your browser in full screen mode and display pop-up messages that won't go away, apparently locking your browser. These fake error messages aim to scare you into calling their "technical support hotline".

🔺 When you engage with the scammers, they can offer fake solutions for your “problems” and ask for payment in the form of a one-time fee or subscription to a purported support service.

How to protect against tech support scams

Microsoft says often the scams are hard to detect, however:

🔺 Microsoft does not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information, or to provide technical support to fix your computer. If you didn't ask us to, we won't call you to offer support.

🔺 If a pop-up or error message appears with a phone number, don’t call the number. Error and warning messages from Microsoft never include a phone number.

🔺 Microsoft will never ask that you pay for support in the form of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, or gift cards.

🔺 Be wary of downloading software from third-party sites, as some of them might have been modified to bundle malware and other threats.

For more information go to https://support.microsoft.com/security.

Don't get fooled: Here's 24 scam texts I received in just one month

Although some may be humorous, others appear legit. Here are 24 texts I received in just one month's time, as well as one I'm surprised I never got.

Spam texts are listed in the same order that was received.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

Biggest NJ company layoff notices in 2022 and 2023

In some cases, workers may be offered back their jobs or transfers to different locations. 

Here’s a look at more than a dozen of the biggest announcements within two years.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

These NJ town are getting poorer

In these 20 municipalities in New Jersey, the median household income has decreased or grown the least in a decade. The data is based on U.S. Census' American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for the years 2012 and 2022.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM