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Ocean County Authorities Warn of Holiday Phone Scams

Talking on a phone. (Photo: Martin Cathrae/Flickr)

Talking on a phone. (Photo: Martin Cathrae/Flickr)

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office reiterated a warning to local residents against becoming a victim of phone solicitors who fabricate ties to law enforcement.

Residents and business owners across the county are being solicited for substantial cash contributions and donations for various police-related organizations, equipment, scholarship and educational funds, and community-based programs, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement issued Monday.

In most instances, solicitors are misrepresenting themselves as members of, or associated with, local law enforcement. In all cases, it’s not true, authorities say.

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“The OCPO and local law enforcement does not engage in any fundraising activity over the phone,” said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

Over the past week, Della Fave said, there have been several reports to the prosecutor’s office of calls from a 609 area code in which the solicitor states he is calling for the police foundation to help obtain equipment for local police departments.

“The caller states further that no one would come to the house, they would send a return envelope in the mail in order to collect a check or money order,” Della Fave said.

Additionally, some calls have promised decals or stickers that would provide special treatment to those who donate. Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said that is not true.

“Ocean County law enforcement does not administer the motor vehicle laws of the state on the basis of contributions to charities offering decals and stickers,” he said.

The prosecutor’s office is urging citizens contacted by phone solicitors to ask hard questions about the organization, its goals and use of funds before sending money. If the questions are not answered satisfactorily – don’t donate.

The Division of Consumer Affairs encourages anyone with inquiries, concerns or complaints about police-related fundraising activities or organizations to contact the State Division of Consumer Affairs charity information hotline at 973-504-6215. The hotline is operational between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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