Essay: Newark PD warns residents of scams

Chief Mark Thoms
Stock photo.

There are always persons interested in taking your hard-earned money away from you through fraudulent means. 

In today’s world, you never get to see them coming for you. They are contacting you by email, text or phone call regarding an emergency that needs immediate payment or there will be dire consequence, a Social Security warning of a problem with your account, a utility company warning of an imminent shutoff, a lottery company promising a big prize — once you pay some fees upfront, a relative/grandchild needing bail or facing another financial emergency, or the IRS or a police agency has a warrant for your immediate arrest.

These persons then request payment by directing you to buy one or more gift cards — often referred to as “electronic vouchers” — as a quick means of making payment. After purchasing these cards, you are told to share the numbers on the back by reading them off or sending a picture. At this point, you have given them your hard-earned money without ever seeing anyone!

Should anyone contact you needing an immediate gift card or electronic voucher; an update to credit/debit card information; immediate payment to help a relative or loved one, or to prevent law enforcement from arresting you; immediate payment of a utility bill; or any other requests for immediate payment, please hang up the phone. Call the relative or other family member to verify if there is an emergency. Do not respond to the email requests. No legitimate business or service will request immediate payment by gift cards, your credit/debit card numbers or any personal information.

In April 2021, the Newark Police Department reported 785 calls for service, 78 motor vehicle crash investigations (22 property damage and six personal injury), 23 traffic stops, 24 traffic tickets issued (14 people), 89 incident reports completed and 18 arrests (10 males, three females and one juvenile; three felony charges, 14 misdemeanor charges and one violation charge). There were zero use-of-force incidents.