Manchester Township Police are warning residents—especially seniors—to beware of scammers who use electronic methods to hide their identities and trick unsuspecting victims into handing over thousands of dollars.
The warning comes in the wake of a scam in which a Whiting man gave nearly $80,000 over a four month period to a person he was led to believe through online conversations was a distressed Nigerian woman.
“Our senior residents are losing thousands upon thousands of dollars through these scams,” said Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski. “These residents are among our most vulnerable. Many are unfamiliar with internet fraud and new methods of deception, which makes them prime targets for scammers.”
The scam victim was targeted through the dating site Match.com, where he was contacted by a person identified as Joan Baldwin Abelita. The scammer said that she had nearly $3,000,000 in an offshore account, but the money was frozen by the Nigerian government.
The victim was told that, if he sent money to help clear up a tax issue, funds in the account would be released and he would be repaid. After 18 transactions, the victim realized that he had fallen victim to a scam and contacted authorities.
Manchester Township Police advises the following to stay safe from scammers:
- Residents are advised never to send money to an unknown source, no matter how promising the supposed potential reward. Be cautious when meeting new people through online social networks and websites.
- Never give out any personal information, including bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers to any institution unless you have initiated the phone call to them and you are certain you are speaking with an authorized representative.
- Callers claiming that your personal computer has a virus and requesting remote access to your desktop—often asking for payment upwards of $100 for the service—is a fraud.
- Seniors should beware of scams in which an individual calls and claims to be a grandchild in need of immediate monetary assistance. These scammers will claim to be a grandchild in need of money for bail or another emergency situation and ask for a wire funds transfer.
Anyone who suspects they are being targeted by a scammer is asked to contact Manchester Township Police by calling 732-657-6111.