HomeVoorhees NewsVoorhees police warn of increase in potential phone scams

Voorhees police warn of increase in potential phone scams

Mix of tax season and census year creating trouble for residents

In Voorhees Township, you won’t catch any residents being swindled by snake oil salesmen selling magical, cure-all elixirs anytime soon; if you do, you’ve likely gone back in time a few centuries.

However, scammers and con artists have evolved over time and are continuing to utilize technology as a powerful way to trick people into giving away personal or financial information, something the Voorhees Township Police Department would like to warn the community about.

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Public Information Officer Carmen Del Palazzo says the department has seen an increase in the number of residents reporting having been scammed in recent months over phone calls through a variety of tricks. Between tax season and the current year being a census year, the department anticipates reported scams may increase even more in the upcoming weeks.

“It’s absolutely growing and right now with tax season, we can expect to see plenty more,” Del Palazzo said. “They’re usually successful because they seem real and unfortunately they catch people off guard at times. It’s as simple as the old saying ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.’”

According to the police department, recent scams include phone calls from random numbers claiming fake lottery winnings, tech support issues, jailed relatives in need of bail and more; the list goes on and on, Del Palazzo says.

There’s so many because they work.

But as the coming weeks progress, Del Palazzo says the department is hoping residents of all ages, and senior citizens in particular, are extra vigilant and aware of potential scams.

For starters, the department wants to remind residents to not answer calls from unknown numbers and to not return calls that ring just once. In such situations, you either don’t know the person or machine that is calling you or calling back one-ring calls can result in hefty charges for numbers potentially out of the country.

Another big tip that the department wants to remind residents of is to not give personal or financial information to callers over the phone that come from unknown numbers. If called by an unknown number that is asking for personal information, it is most likely a scam. While companies and businesses that residents actually owe money to can call, residents should still hang up, if called, and then take action into their own hands.

“If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back the number that you know is genuine for that potential company,” Del Palazzo said. “Technology makes it very easy for scammers to fake call from any number; I actually received a phone call one time on my personal cell from my own work phone number and it was a scammer. I was looking at both phones right in front of me but that can still happen, it’s crazy.”

Along the same lines, Del Palazzo says don’t follow instructions on recorded messages. Such instructions can be fake and lead unsuspecting residents into encouraging hefty charges or being put on call lists to receive even more scam calls.

Often times, scammers can pretend to be someone you would expect to trust, such as a relative or friend, government official or charity worker. Again, Del Palazzo says hang up calls from numbers you don’t recognize. If you think you know the person calling, reach out to them directly by dialing the number you know is theirs.

Lastly, encompassing the large majority of scams, according to Del Palazzo, are scammers who want those on the other line to respond to their requests in a hurry, often threatening jail time, fines or other punishments for not giving personal/financial information or money to them.

“They want you to make decisions in a hurry, so that’s a red flag,” Del Palazzo said. “They might threaten you … don’t be pressured by a threatening call if they’re asking you to pay fees and stuff like that. Along with that, a government agency or trusted company will never ask you to pay with unusual methods, such as gift cards, store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or Bitcoin.”

In all such instances with suspected scams, the department encourages residents to visit www.fbi.gov for additional information on protecting themselves and their families against numerous scams, as well as report all potential cases directly to the department by calling (856) 428-5400.

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