Grove Police warn that a new take on an old scam is circulating via the mail this holiday season.
Grove Police Detective Sergeant Mark Sheridan said area residents have been receiving letters with checks enclosed.
The letters, which are ostensibly from a company called “Suplus Financial Services” and have a return address of 361 Neptune Avenue, West Babylon, NY, inform the recipient that they have been chosen for employment as a “secret shopper.”
Enclosed is a “check” for $2,500.
Recipients are asked to deposit the check in their accounts and then make a money gram transfer of $1,750.00. The rest of the check is purported to be payment for the recipient and money to spend at a provided list of stores.
“If you get one of these, shred it,” Sheridan said. “Do not deposit it.”
This scam is a variation of one that has circulated in the mail and via email as well.
Sheridan said it usually originates in a foreign country, like Nigeria, Canada or England.
He warned that citizens should be very wary of anyone who offers them something for nothing.
“If something seems to be too good to be true, it usually is,” Sheridan said.
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Department said there are other scams particular to the holiday season that people should be aware of.
“This time of the year, burglaries are on the rise and scam artists are out to get your money,” said Delaware County Investigator Ron Teel.
According to Teel, scammers use snail mail, e-mail and phone calls soliciting donations for what they claim to be legitimate organizations.
“The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Sheriff’s Department are not going to call you for donations,” said Teel.
He suggested anyone who receives phone call of this nature should get the caller’s name and phone number and tell them they will think about it and call them back.
He said e-mails should be deleted and anything suspicious received by mail should be shredded.
“One of the best gifts you can give someone, or yourself, is a shredder,” he said.
Teel also suggested that citizens always lock their cars with valuables in the trunk.
“If you are uncomfortable going into an area, to just stay away, or get someone to accompany you while you’re shopping,” Teel said.
He also said people should watch out for their neighbors when they aren’t home.
“Call your neighbor if someone shows up at their house. Ask them if a plumber, tree trimmer or contractor is supposed to be at there. Also, if you see someone who you feel is suspicious, get a tag number, make and model of the vehicle and the direction of travel if you feel they’ve stolen something from the residence. We don’t want you to be a hero, just get as much information as you can,” Teel said.
In a final warning, Teel suggested anyone who entertains visitors in their home during the holiday season, should hide their prescription drugs.
“We’re not claiming that your family or friends would steal your prescriptions, but just as a precautionary measure, it’s not a bad idea,” Teel said.
“The best defense against being ripped off is to be cautious, be careful, and watch out for your neighbor’s property and have them watch out after yours,” Teel concluded.