NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police departments across New Jersey are warning of scammers posing as law enforcement to target their victims.

When caller ID says it is the police department, most people will pick up, but lately in some cases that has not been the case, reports CBS2’s Meg Baker.

Long Branch, North Arlington and Glen Rock are warning about fake calls where they have gotten dozens of complaints from residents in the past three months.

Victim Nicole Ricciardi described being targeted by someone impersonating the Long Branch police department and saying someone stole her identity and rang up a bunch of debt.

“It was automatronic voice, like a computer generated voice, and it said you must come immediately or you will be arrested and I hung up,” she said.

Telling when a call is real or not can be tricky.

“It is very scary unfortunately, very easy to spoof phone numbers,” said FITECH Consultants technology expert Duarte Pereira. “When they start asking for personal information, like social security numbers, debit card numbers, credit card numbers, things like that, a police department will never ask, especially over the phone, for something like that.”

Pereria says if you are unsure, you can always hang up and call the police department back.

“You never know who is on other line, recording names, trying taking information,” said Ricciardi. “I’m always very cautious.”

Others suggest letting a call you are unsure of go straight to voice mail. If it’s important enough, the caller will leave a message and you can choose whether or not to return it.

In the meanwhile, tech experts say telephone companies are working on technology to stop spoofing automatically.


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