HACKETTSTOWN, NJ – A car with blood stains abandoned with 22 pounds of cocaine inside was part of the narrative that nearly cost a Hackettstown man $40,000, according to the Hackettstown Police Department.
According to officials, Hackettstown Police responded to Fulton Bank, 176 Mountain Ave., on Aug. 7 to investigate a possible scam. Through the investigation it was determined that an 80-year-old man received multiple phone calls from two alleged officers threatening him that he would be arrested for a crime discovered in Texas near the Mexico border, police said.
The alleged officers stated that a crime scene was discovered in an abandoned car with blood stains and 22 pounds of cocaine and they told the victim that the car belonged to him and that he needed to wire money to resolve the issue, police said.
The 80-year-old man went to the bank and attempted to withdrawal $40,000 which he was going to wire to the Office of the Inspector General. A bank employee stopped the man from withdrawing the money and stated to him that he was being scammed, police said.
Hackettstown Police shared five ways to beat a Government Imposter Scam:
1. Don’t wire money
Scammers often pressure people into wiring money, or strongly suggest that people put money on a prepaid debit card and send it to them. Why? It’s like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back. Never deposit a “winnings” check and wire money back, either. The check is a fake, no matter how good it looks, and you will owe the bank any money you withdraw. And don’t share your account information, or send a check or money order using an overnight delivery or courier service. Con artists recommend these services, so they can get your money before you realize you’ve been cheated.
2. Don’t pay for a prize
If you enter and win legitimate sweepstakes, you don’t have to pay insurance, taxes, or shipping charges to collect your prize. If you have to pay, it’s not a prize. And companies, including Lloyd’s of London, don’t insure delivery of sweepstakes winnings. If you didn’t enter a sweepstakes or lottery, then you can’t have won. Remember that it’s illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or over the phone.
3. Don’t give the caller your financial or other personal information
Never give out or confirm financial or other sensitive information, including your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number, unless you know who you’re dealing with. Scam artists, like fake debt collectors, can use your information to commit identity theft — charging your existing credit cards, opening new credit card, checking, or savings accounts, writing fraudulent checks, or taking out loans in your name. If you get a call about a debt that may be legitimate — but you think the collector may not be — contact the company you owe money to about the calls.
4. Don’t trust a name or number
Con artists use official-sounding names to make you trust them. It’s illegal for any promoter to lie about an affiliation with — or an endorsement by — a government agency or any other well-known organization. No matter how convincing their story — or their stationery — they’re lying. No legitimate government official will ask you to send money to collect a prize. To make their call seem legitimate, scammers also use internet technology to disguise their area code. So even though it may look like they’re calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
5. Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry
Ok, so this won’t stop scammers from calling. But it should make you skeptical of calls you get from out of the blue. Most legitimate sales people generally honor the Do Not Call list. Scammers ignore it. Putting your number on the list helps to “screen” your calls for legitimacy and reduce the number of legitimate telemarketing calls you get. Register your phone number at donotcall.gov.
Police are also urging anyone who experiences anything like this to report the scam. Those who get a call from a government imposter, file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint. Be sure to include:
- Date and time of the call
- Name of the government agency the imposter used
- What they tell you, including the amount of money and the payment
- method they ask for
- Phone number of the caller; although scammers may use technology to
- create a fake number or spoof a real one, law enforcement agents may be
- able to track that number to identify the caller
- Any other details from the call
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