PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT: In another fraud that is becoming extremely common, an 87-year-old Wyckoff woman was swindled out of $6,400 by a man pretending to be a grandson in trouble.
The thieves followed the “Grandparent Scam” script to the letter, Police Chief Benjamin Fox said today: The caller immediately put a man claiming to be a lawyer on the phone who told the woman that her grandson needed bail money.
She then went to the bank and mailed $6,400 in cash to an address in Philadelphia, the chief said.
This comes a week after another Wyckoff woman wired $4,100 to a purported landlord while seeking to lease an apartment for her son.
It also follows an incident this week in which a would-be Wyckoff victim avoided a scam by recognizing the danger signs.
The man received one of those all-too-familiar letters that he’d won $250,000 in an international lottery, Fox said. The letter included a check for $3,885 that was supposedly an advance from his winnings, he said.
The letter also directed the resident to write his own check for $3,885 and mail it in to pay the “non resident administrative fee,” the chief said. As soon as he did, it promised, he’d be mailed his winnings.
The check he received, of course, was bogus. It would also have taken several days before he’d have discovered that his bank rejected it. Had he sent his own check right way, he’d be out nearly $4,000, Fox said.
The chief said he feels sorry for those who weren’t so sharp. He also urged the public and media to get the word out, in the hopes of protecting another target.
“The only defense that law enforcement has to protect the public from these scams is to report them to residents. Hopefully that information protects some individuals,” the chief said.
There are other scams, as well, he said: ALERT: Bergen elderly losing thousands to phone scammers
“Because senior citizens are frequently targets, their adult children should remind their parents not to send money to anyone they don’t know without first consulting them,” he said.
Fox also repeated the warnings given by him and other police officials over the years:
“Do not send cash to anyone you don’t know.
“Do not wire money to anyone you don’t know.
“Do not pay a ‘service charge’ to collect a million dollar lottery winning.
“Do not purchase gift cards and tell anyone on the phone the serial numbers.”
“Once again, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” the chief said.
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