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Police: Phone Scams on the Rise

Police Inspector offers tips on how residents can avoid phone scams.

Nassau County Police Inspector John Berry warned residents of phone scams, which have been on the rise lately, at Tuesday night's Levittown property owners meeting.

"We've been getting a lot of them lately,” Berry said. “If you can think of a scam, they got a new one the next day coming up.”    

One scam includes the caller telling you that they are from the IRS and you owe back taxes. Berry said the scammer will then tell you "if you don’t pay me right away, we’re going to have to put a lien on your house, we’re going to have to freeze all your bank accounts."

"They often substitute IRS with LIPA or a water company," Berry said. 

Berry said residents should look at their bills and call the number on the bill to see if there's a problem. 

Another way to protect yourself is to ask the caller for their information to call them back, he said. 

"The best thing you can do with these people with these types of scams is say, 'alright sir, I’d be happy to pay that, but say you need a few minutes to get my information together, give me your number, name and address and I’ll call you right back'" Berry said. "What are they going to say? ‘We’re going to call you back.’ That's how you know."

Another frequent scam targets the elderly. The scammer will tell the elderly person that their son has been arrested in another country and that they need to wire money to bail him or her out of jail, Berry said. 

"People will wire the money," Berry said. "Then, [the scammer] calls back and says, 'oh we got the $1,000 but there’s this added surcharge fee and you need to send another $2,000. And they will keep adding surcharges. They’ll keep going as long as you keep sending the money."

Berry said residents should simply call their loved ones to check on the situation. After that, they can call the police to help them figure it out.

The final phone scam Berry mentioned is when the scammer says a relative has been in a bad accident and they need money before they can be treated. 

"Have you ever seen someone not get treated until the hospital gets money for the operation? No. Please don’t fall for those types of things," Berry said. 

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