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Posted Saturday, May 16th, 2020

Do NOT Provide Personal Information and Do NOT  Make Payments

Criminal scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 emergency while people are staying home to conduct scams by phone, email and online, especially targeting elderly residents, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is warning.

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

“We and our law enforcement partners throughout Morris County and the state have observed an increase in the number of scams and confidence crimes,” said Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.  “Residents are being asked to remain vigilant, especially as scammers are trying to upset them into impulsively turning over money. Residents are encouraged to reach out to elderly friends and relatives to alert them about these scams.

Some examples are as follows:

BAIL BOND – A scammer will call a potential victim and say her or his grandchild has been arrested. The caller may or may not provide the grandchild’s name. In some cases, a person comes on the phone pretending to be the grandchild as proof of being arrested.

The caller will ask the victim to post/give a sum of money for the grandchild to be released from jail.

During a recent incident in Roxbury, the scammer asked for the victim’s home address to pick up the money. This type of scam is particularly dangerous, as the criminal will attempt to collect the money in person,  directly from the victim.

Please be aware that scammers may give the victim instructions on what to say to a bank teller if they ask why cash is being withdrawn. They also may instruct the victim to act upset and angry or to tell the bank employee that it is none of their business.

IRS SCAM – A scammer will call a potential victim and say they owe the government money and face being arrested if they do not pay. To avoid being arrested, the victim must satisfy the debt by way of a MoneyGram or gift cards.

Please be aware that the IRS will never call and attempt to settle a tax debt via MoneyGram or gift card.

COVID-19: Morris Prosecutor Warns Residents of Criminal Scams Targeting Residents

STIMULUS CHECKS – The United States Postal Inspection Service advises that scammers are calling and/or emailing individuals claiming to be from the Treasury Department, and offering expedited payments or assistance with obtaining an Economic Impact Payment.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, residents do not have to pay taxes or processing fees to obtain a relief stimulus payment. Residents are advised that if they receive a call asking for personal information or for fees to obtain a stimulus check, do NOT provide any personal information and do not send money.

“I am appalled by these attacks upon our most vulnerable residents. Personally, the 95-year-old father of my close friend was bilked out of $25,000 on a Bail Scam. Please don’t be a victim,” said Prosecutor Knapp.

If you are contacted by a scammer, please notify your local police department or the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit at 973-285-6200.

Residents also can report the theft of stimulus checks from the mail to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at www.uspis.gov/report or 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Inquiries should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at [email protected] or by phone at 973-829-8159.