NUTLEY, NJ — Frauds being run on Nutley residents isn’t a new phenomenon; local police have been warning about them for years. But despite police officers’ attempts to stem the tide of shady scams, they keep happening, authorities say.
Last week, the Nutley Police Department issued an advisory about one of the latest frauds being reported in the township.
According to Police Director Alphonse Petracco and Chief Thomas Strumolo, a phone scammer pretending to be a law enforcement officer targeted a Nutley resident in an attempt to get money.
Fortunately, the resident checked with police before sending any funds, Petracco and Strumolo stated. But another victim wasn’t so lucky when, earlier this month, they sent a scammer gift card codes based on a false claim they were with the Lyndhurst Police Department.
Strumolo said the scams often work by using phone applications (spoofing) that make the incoming number appear to be legitimate. For example, when the resident viewed “Nutley Police” on their caller ID, they believed it was actually the Nutley Police Department.
Strumolo said that with the use of the internet, pay-per-minute convenience store phones and wire transfers, police are unable to track or trace callers, making them more common.
“Our only defense is public awareness and letting our family and friends know that these crimes are occurring, and to be wary when sending money,” Strumolo said.
He added that no police department would ever ask a resident or put someone on the phone to request money.
Petracco said there are hundreds of frauds, each with different story, however all with same objective: to wire, transfer, send and provide money or other personal information.
Most people are aware of these scam artists, however – once they add a sense of urgency – a little validation such as a name or address can make a victim believe the call is real, he said.
Petracco said that even he was once the target of a spoofed number.
“We urge you to share this information with your loved ones, and have anyone that receives a request, whether on phone or computer, to stop for a minute, call the police before providing personal information or making any transactions,” Petracco said.
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This article originally appeared on the Belleville-Nutley Patch