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Northern Highlands Daily Voice serves Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River & Waldwick

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DV Pilot police & fire

Leonia police chief warns about phone scammers claiming connections to fire department

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: Leonia police are warning citizens to be wary of scammers claiming a connection to the borough fire department while claiming to offer chimney cleaning services and smoke detectors.

Two residents reported receiving calls from the 555 exchange.

“Obviously, this is a scam,” Police Chief Thomas Rowe said. “The Leonia Fire Department does not provide these services.

“On a daily basis, there seems to be a new scam popping up,” Rowe added. “Everyday, we receive messages from other police departments throughout state alerting us to these various scams. Some of these scams can be creative.

“The best advice I can provide so that you do not become a victim is to not let anyone in your house (unless you are familiar with them and they have ID. e.g., PSEG meter reader you know), do not respond to any emails from financial institutions seeking personal information (no matter how legitimate the email looks) and do not give out personal information on the phone,” the chief added. “If in doubt, give nothing out.”

He also urged citizens to contact their local police department immediately after receiving such calls or visits.

“In my my time on the force, I have lost count on how many times we have investigated scams where the victim has lost a considerable amount of money or property,” Rowe said.

“It is heartbreaking because the scam artists tend to target victims who are trusting and more often than not elderly,” he said.

Last month, CVS customers from Leonia were called by someone claiming to be a technician and promising to make it easier to get medications — in return for personal information.

A Prospect Street resident reported receiving two calls with the ID number of the local CVS. One was from a woman who identified herself as “Janet,” she said.

When her husband called the pharmacy, they said they didn’t have anyone there by that name, the resident said.

A nationwide jury duty phone scam run by a Georgia corrections officer and prison inmate brought some thieves as much as $300,000 each, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino said in announcing a pair of arrests three months ago.

Officials at Autry State Prison, in the southern Georgia town of Pelham, seized as many as 450 cell phones — costing $800 to $1,200 each — during a search stemming from Saudino’s investigation.

The sheriff’s investigators discovered that some inmates in the state-run facility had as much as to $200,000 to $300,000 in their commissary accounts, thanks to the thievery.

SEE: Inmate jury duty phone scammers had $300,000 bank accounts

Three months earlier, a 75-year-old Ridgewood man was conned out of nearly $1,600 by a phone scammer who wanted $400 more, which convinced him to go to the police.

“The only defense that law enforcement has against [people] who attempt financial scams on others is to report the incidents in the hope that people read it, preventing further scams from being successful,” Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox said.

WHAT WE THINK: How many more elderly victims will be scammed before you do something?

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YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Upper Saddle River police today captured a “psychic/spiritualist” fugitive wanted in a fortune-telling scam that cost a victim $120,000. READ MORE ….
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PUBLIC SAFETY: Police are warning citizens not to be scammed by callers who claim to represent PSE&G and threaten to turn off electric and gas service if they’re not paid. READ MORE ….

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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. READ MORE ….

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PUBLIC SAFETY: A Wyckoff woman trying to rent an apartment for her daughter online lost $4,100 to a scam artist claiming to be a landlord, police said. READ MORE ….

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PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT: If a caller tells you that you just won a 2013 Mercedes Benz: You didn’t, say Paramus police, who are again warning the public to beware of phone scams — and to warn your older loved ones, as well. READ MORE ….

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YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A 79-year-old Teaneck woman had a small safe stolen from her home this afternoon by a diversion burglar who pretended to be working for the water company, police told CLIFFVIEW PILOT tonight. READ MORE ….

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PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT: Phone scammers are victimizing more elderly residents every day, prompting a growing number of law enforcement agencies to urge people to warn susceptible loved ones. READ MORE ….

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PUBLIC SAFETY: An 83-year-old Wyckoff woman who was conned out of $4,000 by a caller could have been your mother, or your grandmother, or a friend, which is why police are warning citizens about the increasing number of phone scammers who prey on the uninformed. READ MORE ….

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SCAM ALERT: Ridgewood police have joined the chorus of local departments urging citizens to beware of a growing phone scam, after a 73-year-old village woman was conned out of $9,000 by a caller who said he was her grandson and an accomplice who claimed to be his lawyer. The “grandson” told the woman he was in an Ohio jail and needed bail money. He put the lawyer on the phone, and he convinced the woman to send four separate wire transfers out of state. She’ll likely never see that money again. READ MORE ….
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BE ALERT: The terrified man who prompted a Fair Lawn bank teller to trip a holdup alarm — bringing an army of tactical police officers who closed off area streets — was one of a growing number of victims of phone scammers first given widespread local attention last year. As CLIFFVIEW PILOT first reported last fall, the scam is hitting Bergen County residents hard. In one case, a Wyckoff couple in their 70′s lost $15,000 after being tricked into believing their son had been in car crash in New York City and needed bail money. READ MORE ….

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ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : Police are increasing their warnings about the alarming spread of ransom telephone scams, including recent calls to unsuspecting loved ones in Saddle Brook, Midland Park and Glen Rock the past week — as well as two others, to Ridgewood and Wyckoff, that cost the victims thousands of dollars. READ MORE ….

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