The Bloomfield Township Police Department warns residents to be especially mindful of opportunistic thieves using holiday-related scams to defraud people.
According to department reports, an elderly resident recently fell victim to a new variation of an old scam that prompted him to wire money to someone he thought was his grandson for the holidays. The man told police last week that he received a call from someone who claimed to be his grandson, and that he was involved in a car crash in Colorado with a Philippine diplomat.
The caller said they needed $3,200 wired to the Philippines immediately to resolve the matter, and the man agreed to wire the money, reports said. A few hours after sending the money, the victim called his grandson who said he was fine was never involved in an accident.
The wire transfer could not be stopped or cancelled at that point.
"This type of scam targeting the elderly is becoming more common," the department wrote in an alert on its Facebook page. "The Bloomfield Township Police would like to remind residents to verify information with family prior to wiring money to strange destinations."
The department also advised of an ongoing telephone scam involving people posing as agents for the Drug Enforcement Agency, who insist that buying your prescription drugs over the phone, or the Internet, is illegal. The extortionists will tell people to pay a fine immediately to avoid prosecution by wiring funds to a location that's usually overseas, so it's difficult to track.
The department suggests that if you received a similar call, to immediately notify the DEA a 1-877-792-2873.
Another resource is the Better Business Bureau's Scam Stopper website, which explains some of these scams in great detail and tips on how to avoid them.