A phone scam is targeting Toms River business proprietors and residents, police announced in a release Monday.
According to Ralph Stocco, spokesman for the Toms River Police Department, the scam involves victims receiving a phone call, purportedly from a Jersey Central Power and Light Company representative, stating that the utility customer’s bill is past due and that power will be terminated unless a payment is made over the phone.
“The victims are instructed to purchase ‘Green Dot’ cards in the amount of the payment that is due and then either enter the payment information on a website or call back the suspects,” Stocco said. “Green Dot cards can be purchased at numerous local retail establishments. They allow the purchaser to ‘pre-pay’ money onto the cards, which can then be used to debit the accounts electronically.”
Three business owners and one homeowner reported the scam to police in the last week, he added.
“The criminals were only successful one time. We are working with the power company to apprehend any suspects and they state that this is a nationwide scam that uses local phone numbers, which give the scam an appearance of legitimacy,” Stocco said.
Police advise the public to never make a payment over the phone unless initiating the call and dialing the number that appears on a billing statement.