Police and Community Together (PACT)
Happy Valentine’s Day from New Providence Police Department! This is Detective David Rodriguez, Community Services Officer for the Department. Thank you for signing up and/or staying for my monthly newsletter. This newsletter will hopefully address any local matters or concerns, including (but not limited to): town events, general police inquiries, ordinance inquiries, information on recent scams, information on recent crime trends, and different helpful safety tips.
I will do my best to address any concerns in a timely manner and I appreciate your patience as I navigate through your responses.
PBA Blood Drive: Thank you to those who came out and donated, we will keep you informed on the next Blood Drive!
Upcoming or Current Events/Programs:
Fishing Derby: Bring your rod, reel & bait and catch trout of varying sizes stocked in the pond at Oakwood Park. Prizes will be awarded to the lucky people who catch one of the 6 monstrous lunkers! Co-Sponsored by New Providence P.B.A. Local #132 and New Providence Recreation.
*All events are pending COVID-19 restrictions allowing.
Recent Scams and Crime Trends:
Social Security Scams: Fraudulent phone calls are being made requesting Social Security numbers from citizens. The suspect(s) are using a legitimate phone number (spoofed), 973-785-9419, for the New Jersey State Police Totowa Station and are posing as New Jersey State Troopers. During the calls, a man with a foreign accent will inform the victim that they are calling because they have identified them as a victim of identity theft. They attempt to obtain a Social Security number and date of birth for further verification.
The New Jersey State Police will NEVER call you requesting personal information like your Social Security number or your date of birth. Spoofing technology allows a person to have a fraudulent number appear on the caller ID. In other words, the suspect may be calling you from another state or country, but have a local number displayed.
If you receive a suspicious call, hang up the phone and do not provide any personal information, and immediately call your local police department or State Police station that services your area to report the incident.
Utility Scams: People are posing as JCP&L and PSE&G employees, then calling victims (including small businesses) and threatening to cut off their service unless payment is immediately made. These companies would never require immediate payment with the threat of a shut-off of service. As per the utility companies: If your account is past due, you will receive a written notice of your account status, with instructions on how to avoid disconnection of service. While a representative may call a customer, whose bill is in arrears in order to remind them that a payment is due, the representative would explain how a payment can be made using already established payment options. They will not demand payment over the phone, in person, or at a particular physical location.
If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately. If you would like to verify your account status, always call the utility services customer service number or log in to your account their respective website. If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, please contact the police department or your state attorney general’s office, and report telephone scams to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
Utilities do not accept prepaid debit cards or wire transfers as payment, and representatives will not demand your bank information or credit card number over the phone. Payments are also not accepted via outside payment apps (Ca$hApp, Venmo, Zelle).
COVID-19 Relief (Continued from last month): People are posing as the IRS via text messages, emails, or phone calls for stimulus relief. The IRS will NOT contact you about the relief and request your personal information (social security number, banking information, etc.).
People are also fraudulently offering early access to COVID Vaccination shots, taking peoples money first and never giving a vaccination or information where to go. Only trust phone numbers and websites you are familiar with.
Amazon (Continued from last month): People are posing as Amazon via text messages, emails, or phone calls stating that their payment for a purchased item was not received or that the payment did not go through. They are then instructed to take out cash and send it via FedEx or UPS. This one is usually targeted towards seniors within the community, but everyone should be made aware of it.
Police Donation Scam: People have been calling posing as Police Officers and either requesting a monetary donation for the Department or they state that you have an active warrant and need to pay for it (with gift cards or cash), otherwise you will be arrested. The New Providence Police Department will never call for donations…our PBA sends out mailers and have done so this way for many years. If someone has an active warrant, our Department will address the issue in person or physically at the Department and not settle payment with gift cards. If you think you may have an active warrant, feel free to contact our court or Police Department to verify if something is active or not.
A quick tip: if you actually read through any of these e-mail or mail scams, you will notice several grammatical errors and that the margins or spaces are all off. Always double check with any companies contacting you or call them back yourself to verify that they are legitimate. Unfortunately, we all must be hesitant to divulge personal information to others but do your due diligence and take some extra steps to protect yourself.
Stolen Cars/Motor Vehicle Burglaries: These crimes have started back up again… Two vehicles have been stolen and several other vehicles were entered around town. As stated in previous newsletters, this issue is always something to be aware of and it comes and goes in waves. The burglars will go around town looking for unlocked vehicles with the keys inside (typically a key fob) and flat out steal the vehicle. DO NOT make it easy for these people. Lock your vehicles and bring your keys inside of your home! And obviously, a friendly reminder to always lock your doors and windows for your home.
Please be mindful of these snow related Ordinances/Regulations:
Ordinance 225-5— Snow and ice must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours after snow.
Ordinance 225-7— Do not place snow or ice in the street.
NJ 39.4-78.1— Clear all snow and ice from vehicle before driving.
Our citizens can help assist with some of these crimes! Be aware of your surroundings and maybe look out of your windows or doors periodically. If you see someone committing a crime or hear suspicious sounds late at night, or your dog is barking at an odd hour at night, call the Police Department IMMEDIATELY. We are happy to look into the matter further, it’s our job! We would rather investigate and find out it was nothing, instead of taking a report AFTER an incident already happened. Police matters are normally time sensitive, so calling the following day or hours after the incident hinders our investigation.
Thank you for reading and please reach out if you need anything, we are here for you!
Detective David Rodriguez