Mercer County, N.J. (PBN) Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri wants to warn the residents of a telephone scam where a caller falsely claimed to be a law enforcement Officer employed by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
On April 20, 2023, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Cyber Crimes Unit, was
contacted by the Cranbury Township Police Department in Middlesex County and advised
that a victim reported that they received a call from a number purporting to be the Mercer
County Prosecutor’s Office and the caller falsely claimed to be “Sergeant Whitlock” with
the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. The scammer claimed the resident had a warrant
for their arrest and directed the victim to drive to a drugstore to purchase gift cards.
As a reminder, law enforcement will never ask for payment of any type over the
phone, nor will they ask for personal identifying information that could be used for
fraudulent purposes. Law enforcement, government agencies, and courts will never ask
you to pay by unusual methods, such as gift cards, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency.
Scammers often research their potential victims on the internet and social media.
Scammers will call and deceive their victims into thinking the callers are law enforcement
officers, prosecutors or police employees. Scammers may spoof a law enforcement
telephone number, falsely showing on the victim’s caller ID. Spoofed phone numbers are
typically done through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) making it difficult for law
enforcement to track the actual caller. The scammers may threaten their victims with
arrest for outstanding warrants or other legal issues.
Should you receive a call from a police department within Mercer County and/or
the Prosecutor’s Office, please confirm with whom you are speaking. If you believe you
received a scam telephone call, hang up and call the main phone number to the police
department or Prosecutor’s Office (609-989-6351). If legitimate, you’ll be connected with
a Police Dispatcher or receptionist who can verify the caller’s identity. Report any scam
calls to your local law enforcement agency.