RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- The old "unpaid utility bill" scam cost an East Ridgewood Avenue business owner $1,200, say police who are warning others not to be duped.
The merchant "reported receiving a phone call from a female purporting to represent PSEG," Police Chief Jacqueline Luthcke said. "The caller stated the business had an outstanding unpaid balance that needed to be paid immediately or the service would be terminated."
The caller had the unwitting victim buy pre-paid debtors cards and then read her their numbers over the phone, Luthcke said.
The caller then pushed her luck, asking the business owner to buy more cards, the chief said.
At that point, she said, "the business owner realized the call was a scam and notified police."
It was too late then.
Luthcke reminded residents and merchants that utility companies don't request payment through phone calls. Neither does the IRS or any other government entity -- police and courts, for instance.
The chief even took it a step further: "Always investigate communications made through postal mail, telephone and/or the internet to prevent fraud and deceptive activity.
"If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Ridgewood Police Department to ensure you’re not becoming a victim of these scams," she said.