I have received a few calls from residents inquiring about potential scam calls and house visits they have received in the recent weeks.
This is the time of year that "scammers" are working overtime to try and get people to give them their money or information. These scammers use many different ways to try and get your information or to get people to send them money under false pretenses! You may receive items in the mail asking for money or information, you may receive phone calls from someone stating they are from a reputable company and are requesting money or personal information, you may receive phone calls from someone telling you a family member is in "jail" or "in the hospital" and in need of money to pay for bail or for treatment, you may get a knock on the door from someone claiming to want to help you remove items from your property or do other work, etc. The list of these attempted scams goes on an on!
It is, however, very simple to not get scammed this holiday season or AT ALL! The answer is for you to NEVER EVER EVER GIVE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION TO ANYONE OVER THE PHONE UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SURE OF THEIR INTENTIONS AND WHO THEY ARE! No reputable business will call and ask you for your birth date and social security number. If someone calls from a business (Comcast, PSE&G, etc.) advise them that you will call the company directly and inquire about your account. If a person is knocking on your door to ask to do work, ask to see their Township Solicitors Permit, if they don't have one, close the door and inform the Police Department of the incident AT THE TIME IT HAPPENS! If someone calls and says a family member or friend needs help, call that person to confirm that they need help and if a family member or friend needs money, and you are so inclined to give it to them, give it to them directly! Yourself!
PLEASE NOTE that religious organizations canvasing and businesses that simply leave flyers on doors or in mailboxes ARE NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE A SOLICITORS PERMIT! Please do not call the Police Department in these cases as they are perfectly legal in what they are doing.
If you are going to make online purchases, do it with reputable companies that protect your credit card/bank information by using encrypted payment information! Companies like Amazon, Ebay, Target, etc. use encrypted online payment forms. I would not give anyone your credit card information by word of mouth unless, again, you are sure they are reputable!
I hope that this information is helpful and that you pass it on to friends and family members. Scammers also prey on the elderly, so please make sure elderly family members are aware of these potential schemes as well. Please note that scammers that get your information online or by phone are nearly impossible to track down when they access your account information! Make sure that you take the simple precautions that I noted and you should be safe from SCAMMERS!
Take care and have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!
-Chief Gene J. Di Filippo