Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland would like to alert the public of an increase in “spoof” calls to resident’s homes or cellular telephones. Spoofed calls are a strategy utilized by scammers in order to disguise their true identity and get people to answer their phones. Scammers are able to modify the caller ID of the phone number to make it appear it is coming from a friend, legitimate business, or even government agency.
Recently, it has come to our attention that scammers have spoofed numerous Cape May County phone numbers. If you receive any calls from any Cape May County Office or the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, demanding payment for an “active warrant,” hang up immediately. Cape May County authorities will not reach out to individuals via telephone demanding payment for warrants (or any other cause), over the telephone.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) monitors these spoof calls and shared a website for reporting these incidents as listed below:
The (FCC) also shared the following tips on dealing with spoofed calls:
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
- If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
Prosecutor Sutherland advises that, as always, any individuals who are in doubt of the authenticity of a phone call to contact their local police department or the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office (609- 465-1135, for further assistance.