The Glen Rock Police Department is once again warning residents to be on the lookout for money wiring scams. They became aware of the latest when a resident reported receiving a call from the "Federal Crime Enforcement Network," demanding that she pay $600 in outstanding debt.
The Federal Crime Enforcement Network, of course, does not exist. When police were contacted, they reached scam artistists they believed to be operating overseas.
"This is one I have not seen before," said a department Facebook post warning residents of the incident.
But this kind of fraud is not new. While the victim this time around refused to send money and instead informed the actual police, 5 inicidents in the last several months have resulted in residents wiring large sums of money. In one instance, a resident sent $96,000, only half of which was recovered. The police warn that it is extremely rare for money to be recovered once wired, as scam artists typically operate outside the jurisdiction of any single law enforcement agency.
While it is not typical for scammers to impersonate police officers, the intimidation this scam entailed is common. "They curse and yell at people and try and threaten them into sending money," said Detective James Calaski.
He emphasizes that unless you're sending money to a distant friend or family member, there is no instance in which people should feel compelled to wire money. "I'm sure there's a legitimate reason for Western Union, but I haven't found one yet."
Since, from a law enforcement perspective, the department is almost powerless to pursue the perps behind these schemes, they've tackled it by keeping the public informed. A training seminar last month brought residents in to learn how to distinguish these calls. Since then, Calaski says, they've "definitely seen a decrease in the scams coming in."
Their presentation on detecting scams will soon be available online, and residents are encouraged to follow the department on Facebook and Twitter to keep current on scammers' methods.