An increased number of senior citizens throughout Morris County have been targets of a range of telephone scams involving schemes such as bail money, car accident funds and most recently, COVID-19, officials said.
Many county residents have lost thousands of dollars from such scams in recent weeks, County Sheriff James M. Gannon said in a release.
Scammers have been preying on victims’ fear of COVID-19 by showing up to their homes dressed in protective gear to collect funds, according to the Morris County Sheriff’s Trends and Analysis Team (MCSTAT), which analyzes crime trends around the county.
Victim have also been getting calls from scammers requesting money to bail a grandchild out of jail or fix a vehicle after an accident.
Gannon urges relatives and caregivers of senior citizens to emphasize that they should never send money or personal financial information over the phone without verifying the receiver. No legitimate government agency will ever ask for cash or gift cards over the phone as bail payment.
“Our elderly residents can be susceptible to financial crimes by perpetrators who sound authoritative or pressure them,” said Gannon.
“Telephone scams that prey on people’s emotions, or the fragility of the elderly, won’t be tolerated in Morris County and there are ways to avoid being victimized by them.”
Gannon recommends the following tips to keep senior citizens financially protected:
- Always be skeptical when you receive a call requesting urgent or immediate payment for any reason.
- Don’t ever let a stranger come to your home to collect payment or property.
- Report all unsolicited attempts to sell products that treat COVID-19 to police.
- If you believe you’re being targeted in a scam call, try to collect information about the caller, such as the incoming call number if available.
- Report all scam calls to the police.
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