Residents should be vigilant when receiving telephone solicitations requesting payment via Green Dot cards and Western Union because it could be nothing but a scam, Nassau County Police said.
"It has come to the attention of the Nassau County Police Department that individuals are receiving calls from persons claiming that they owe money for unpaid taxes or utility bills," according to a police department advisory. "In these cases individuals are contacted by scammers claiming that they are federal or utility company employees and that the individual called owes money."
Victims are told they can avoid arrest, foreclosure or suspension/termination of services if they make payment to the caller using Green Dot cards or Western Union, police said.
In another scam, police said a caller states that an individual has missed jury duty, or a family member has been kidnapped, held hostage or involved in an auto accident. In some instances, the caller may claim to be a law enforcement officer. The victim is told to send money either through Western Union or via Green Dot card to keep from being arrested or to help the family member, according to police.
Further, police have seen scams advising individuals that they have won large sums of money, phone calls or notifications, via mail or online, advising that individuals are approved for a loan or grant or are winners of a sweepstakes lottery.
In some instances police state victims even receive a partial bank check of the winnings that appears to be legitimate; an up front payment for processing fees, however, is requested before funds can be claimed.
"These scams cost honest citizens thousands of unrecoverable dollars," the advisory said.
If you believe you may have been a victim of any of these scams, call 911 immediately. Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the individual(s) responsible are asked to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS (8477). All calls remain anonymous.