A Hackettstown bank employee saved an 80-year-old man from wiring $40,000 to scammers who told him his vehicle had been found near the Mexican border with 22 pounds of cocaine.
The man received multiple phone calls from scammers impersonating police officers who told him that a car belonging to him had been found in Texas near the Mexico border with blood stains and 22 pounds of cocaine around 4:20 p.m. last Friday, Hackettstown police said in a release.
The scammers told the man that he would be arrested unless he wired $40,000 to the Office of the Inspector General, authorities said.
A bank employee recognized the scam as the man was attempting to withdraw the funds, authorities said.
Police offer six ways to avoid falling victim to a government impostor scam:
- 1. Avoid wiring money — once funds are gone, they’re nearly impossible to trace or return. “Con artists recommend these services so they can get your money before you realize you’ve been cheated,” authorities said.
- 2. Never pay for a prize — if you enter and win a legitimate sweepstakes, you won’t have to pay insurance, taxes or shipping charges to collect your prize.
- 3. Don’t give out personal or financial information, including your credit card, Social Security number or bank account. “Scam artists, like fake debt collectors, can use your information to commit identity theft — charging your existing credit cards, opening new credit card, checking, or savings accounts, writing fraudulent checks, or taking out loans in your name,” authorities said.
- 4. Don’t take a name or number at face value. “Con artists use official-sounding names to make you trust them,” authorities said. “No legitimate government official will ask you to send money to collect a prize.”
- 5. Register your phone number on the Do Not Call list at donotcall.gov.
- 6. Report any suspicious phone calls at ftc.gov/complaint.
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