State police issue phone scam alert

DOVER – Delaware State Police issued a scam alert advisory Monday following reports of several incidents phone scam calls.

“This is a general alert which covers any part of the State of Delaware,” said state police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz.

State police warn people to be on the lookout for scammers who make phone calls requesting or demanding money for car crashes, overdue bills, to obtain a federal grant or to receive gold.

There have also been complaints made recently concerning demands for money with no formal organization identified.

Following are some of the calls recently investigated:

  • On July 13, a 68-year-old victim contacted 9-1-1 and stated that an unknown person with a foreign accent called from the telephone number 240-357-2565 and informed him that his son had been in a car accident and injured another person. The victim advised that the person demanded $2,000 to cover the expenses and prevent further injury to his son.  The victim stated that once the phone call was received he and his wife were able to make contact with their son and determine that he was okay.  The victim stated that he disconnected once he determined his son was okay and contacted 9-1-1;
  • On July 21, a concerned citizen called state police and reported a call from an unknown suspect with a heavy middle-eastern accent, who advised her that she would receive a $9,000, a U.S. Federal Government Grant because she paid her taxes, mortgage and is a good citizen. The caller then asked for her name, address, and home phone number.  She got off the line with them and then called the number back. When she started questioning them about how they got her information, the subjects hung up the phone;
  • On July 23 and July 24, there were two complaints were the victims received a phone call from 302-736-7035. The caller ID showed “City of Dover”. The male suspect advised them that they owed the electric company money and that if they did not pay their electric was going to be turned off. The suspects advised the victims to go to Royal Farms and withdraw money and place it on a pre-paid credit card. The suspect advised the victims to call 1-877-432-9325 extension 1 once they obtain the money;
  • On Aug. 1, a 53-year-old victim advised she met Lt. Col. Danny Hampton on ChristianMingle.com. This person was described to be in the U.S. Army and currently stationed in Afghanistan. It was reported the person she met was going to send her $5 million in gold, which he received after helping a small town avoid terrorist capture.  Unfortunately, the gold got held up in customs and victim was required to send money in order to have it released and sent to her.  After wiring $21,000 to various addresses, it was learned, Lt. Col. Danny Hampton did not exist.

Investigation into these incidents is continuing at this time.

Troopers advise people of the following to avoid becoming a victim of a phone scam we recommend you take the following steps:

  • Do not wire money.
  • Do not provide the caller with any information.
  • Attempt to get the caller’s phone number and address.
  • Check all the facts. If you get a call and are concerned that it may be a scammer, ask, the caller where they are calling from and call the agency.
  • Google or internet search the company and check for a valid website.
  • If you believe it is a scam do not cooperate with the caller. The best thing to do is to hang up the phone.
  • If something seems suspicious do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.

These scams are difficult to investigate.  They will target persons of all age groups.  Delaware State Police are asking citizens to remember the tips previously mentioned in order to not become a victim of one of these phone scams.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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