The Eastchester Police Department issued an alert recently about a new phone scam making the rounds in the area, following reports from area residents who have been targeted. During the phone calls, police said that the victims were told that the caller was a representative from the Department of Justice, including a false name and badge number.
Police said that the caller stated that the victim's social security number had been stolen and that a fake driver's license was created in another state, using this social security number, and that this license and the victim's credentials are now attached to several serious crimes in another state.
According to police, the victim was advised that although they were the victim of identity theft, the Supreme Court of the alleged state involved was looking to prosecute them because their identity was attached to several serious drug and violent crimes. The victim was then emailed several “official looking documents, with official seals, that seemed to validate the story that was being told.”
The scammer went on to tell the victim that in order for the Department of Justice to defend them, they needed to purchase Apple Gift Cards, as this would be the fastest means of monetary transaction, and provide the card numbers to the caller. The victim was coerced, through threats, not to get off of the phone until the transfers were made.
According to officials, at least one victim was conned “out of a large sum of money.”
“Please share this scenario with friends and family and remember that no government organization will solicit you to make payments through gift card, Western Union, or other suspicious means,” police said. “Once suspicious of a call, hang up and call a trusted family member, friend, or your local police department.”
In response to the scam calls, Apple issued a statement to customers about not paying fraudsters with gift cards.
“It's important to know that App Store & iTunes Gift Cards can be used ONLY to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, for an Apple Music subscription, or for iCloud storage. If you're approached to use the cards for payment outside of the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, Apple Music, or iCloud, you could very likely be the target of a scam and should immediately report it to your local police department as well as the FTC.
“Please do not ever provide the numbers on the back of the card to someone you do not know. Once those numbers are provided to the scammers, the funds on the card will likely be spent before you are able to contact Apple or law enforcement.”
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