PRESS RELEASE NOTE: Fraud investigations are lengthy in an effort to allow readers to understand how the fraud takes place.
ALERT * ALERT * ALERT ******** – IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ELECTRONIC MONEY TRANSFERS – MOST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS DO NOT REFUND/PROTECT MONEY SENT VIA ZELLE, VENMO, ETC. BETWEEN PRIVATE PARTIES********* BE CAUTIOUS WHEN ASKED TO SEND MONEY USING THOSE APPLICATIONS
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT ALL BUSINESS SOLICITATION PERMITS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – NO ONE SHOULD BE SOLICITING IN THE TOWNSHIP –
WHEN HIRED FOR A JOB THROUGH ONLINE MEANS – DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CASH/DEPOSIT CHECKS SENT TO YOU WITH THE PURPOSE TO PURCHASE OFFICE EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES – THE CHECKS ARE COMING BACK FRAUDULENT ULTIMATELY AFTER THE VICTIM (HIRED EMPLOYEE) HAS ALREADY USED THE FUNDS.
Animal Incident – Centre Street – Nutley Fire along with Police arrived at the Chestnut Street bridge closest to Park Drive on a report of a dog stuck under the bridge in the Third River. One of the Firefighters entered the River and was able to remove Otis from the water and reunite him with his caretaker. He was being transported to a foster home located in Nutley and when they were taking him from the vehicle, Otis broke out of the collar and ran into the Third River. During the rescue, two (2) Firefighters were bitten causing lacerations to their hands/fingers. Otis was found to be up to date on all his vaccines and the caretaker expressed much gratitude and thanks for the actions taken by all to rescue Otis from the river.
Theft by Deception – The victim reported they were contacted by PSE&G who requested $330 as payment to be sent via Zelle. It should be noted that only $100 was forwarded for payment. A Detective from another jurisdiction contacted the victim to advise that they may have been scammed by someone claiming to be a PSE&G employee and provided a report number.
Theft of Identity – The victim stated they were contacted by a party who introduced himself as an Officer of the Nutley Police Department and advised them there was suspicious activity found with their social security card. The call was then transferred to a party that identified themselves as a representative of the Social Security Administration. They advised the victim that their social security card was found inside a vehicle in Texas that was covered in blood, and due to those circumstances, there was a warrant issued for the victim’s arrest for money laundering and drug trafficking. The Social Security representative then asked for the victim’s social security number, which they supplied. At that time, another party identified himself as a Drug Enforcement Agent who requested the victim provide all their credit card companies, which they complied, but did not give the account numbers. The Officer told the victim that they were going to shut down all the cards and that the victim should purchase gift cards and have them prepared for pickup. It was at that time the victim believed they were being scammed.
Nutley Officers advised the victim to contact their credit card companies to advise of the incident and cancel all accounts, along with the suggestion to monitor all their other personal financial accounts for suspicious activity.
Fraud/Theft by Deception – Nutley Police received a report stating the victim applied for a job through Linkedin and was contacted by the “company recruiter” who advised them to download an app “Wire” to communicate moving forward. During this time, the “recruiter” requested the victim purchase items and forward them to an address to have the company’s software installed. The items requested included: Macbook Pro 16″ – valued at $2399.00, iPad Pro 12.9″ – valued at $1099.00, and a iPhone 12 Pro Max – valued at $1199.99.
Upon receipt, the items were removed from their packaging and shipped via FedEx to a Georgia address. Shipping cost was $544.51, bringing the total of all transactions to $5,671.02.
The “recruiter” requested $2,000 be sent to the Georgia address as well, but the victim did not send the money. The victim did not hear anything further regarding the items shipped until they were contacted by the Director of Legal & Compliance for the company. The Director asked the victim if they were asked to join the company’s “Slack” messaging group to which the victim explained they were not provided any details of that group. The Director advised the victim that they were likely scammed because all their hired employees provide details on the “Slack” messaging group.
The victim stated that during their hiring process they provided personal information including Social Security number, driver’s license, and direct deposit information. They advised their bank of the incident and contacted LifeLock. Their accounts appeared clear of any fraudulent transactions and Officers advised the victim of their right to be entered into the FBI Identity Theft database to which they declined at the time of the report.
Nutley Detectives were able to locate where the delivery of the over $5,000 worth of computer equipment was directed. Upon contact with the Police Headquarters in charge of that particular jurisdiction, Officers responded to the building and were able to locate the 3 items the victim had purchased and forwarded per the instructions they received. It was found that the items were scheduled to be shipped overseas. The items were taken from the storefront and removed as stolen from the database. The victim was contacted and advised that their items had been recovered and the process necessary to claim their property with the Georgia Police Department working with Nutley Detectives.
Fraud – The victim reported that they were contacted by Amazon who advised that there was a charge of $128.82 on the victim’s credit card that they confirmed as fraudulent. The charge was denied, and the card was canceled, with a new credit card issued.
Theft of Identity – The victim reported to Police they received an email notice from their LifeLock account advising of an attempt on their financial account to open a line of credit in the amount of $400. The victim contacted the company in Wisconsin where the attempt was made, and the representative told the victim that the transaction was denied due to the discovery of the fraudulent activity. According to information received the application came from a bank and trust located in Memphis Tn. The applicant provided an employer which came back to a nearby restaurant, with a cell phone number and email. Officers attempted to contact the suspect with the information provided and left a message for a return call. The victim was offered entry into the FBI Identity Theft File to which they accepted. The Detective Bureau was advised of the incident.