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February 15th, 2016


Phone scam warning issued by West Milford representatives


Phone scam warning issued by West Milford representativesWest Milford, New Jersey – From calls regarding alleged computer viruses to those dealing with false Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims, phone scams are reportedly on the rise in West Milford and throughout New Jersey.

Councilwoman Marilyn Lichtenberg, a senior citizen and the council liaison to the municipal Senior Citizen Advisory Committee, said local seniors have provided her with multiple accounts of calls allegedly originating from the IRS. These calls, she said, claim a problem exists with the potential victim’s taxes.

“And there is another one going around regarding computers,” she said. “They’ll call and say there is a definite virus on your computer and try to get information that way.

“I told seniors that if you get a phone call say, ‘Please, this phone’s not working right. Call my other number, 973-728-2800’ … which is the West Milford Police Department.”

Mayor Bettina Bieri, a certified public accountant, said she has been made aware of the “IRS” phone scam by clients. She said the mere fact that the someone who claims to be from the IRS is calling is enough to raise a red flag.

“No government agency, not the IRS, not the State of New Jersey, will call you and demand money on the spot. They will not threaten jail,” she said. “The very first steps that you will always get will be mailed correspondence. No email, no calls.”

The mayor said getting those calls may be scary. However, she urged potential victims not to panic.

“The bottom line is: Never give out your personal information or anything over the phone or in an email,” Bieri said. “Don’t give them your Social Security number. Don’t give them your date of birth. Don’t give them your credit card number. Nothing. And, certainly, do not send any money.”

Jeff Abramo of AARP New Jersey said the IRS scam is not necessarily new, but it is increasing in frequency across the state as tax season approaches.

“When they answer the phone, residents are told that they will be arrested and prosecuted if they do not pay them immediately,” he said. “The name Dennis Grey is sometimes, but not always, given. And for a new wrinkle, in some cases, callers have been spoofing their caller ID to display ‘AARP,’ further highlighting their desire to encourage seniors, who they often target in these scams, to answer the phone. The fact is, these calls are not legitimate and are in no way connected to AARP or any government agency. The IRS will not communicate with you by phone.”

Councilman Lou Signorino said he is particularly concerned for seniors, who are regularly targeted by scammers seeking to steal identifies or force potential victims into wiring large sums of money to assist family members or themselves.

“They work so hard to save their money and they need their money to stay afloat, so I certainly don’t want them to be victimized,” Signorino said.

The West Milford Police Department has urged residents to report threatening calls regarding purported back taxes directly to the IRS via irs.gov or 1-800-366-4484.

SOURCE: www.northjersey.com


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