ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca police officials are warning residents about an increase in the number of reported telephone scams happening in the area.

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Police said no one scam is more prevalent than another, but all are meant to convince a person to send money or provide account information to the scammer.

Officials said its unknown if the callers are targeting specific individuals or if they are calling phone numbers at random.

Police released the following information about recently reported scams:

A scammer calls and advises the person who answers the phone that they (the victim) have not paid their student loans and as a result a police investigation has been initiated against them. The scammer convinces the victim to go get a money order while remaining on the phone and to send the money order via wire transfer to the scammer or the victim will face some sort of criminal arrest. The scammer even transfers the telephone call to a “police supervisor” if the victim persistently asks to speak to one. Of course, this entire phone call is a scam and there is no ongoing police investigation against the victim.

Additional scams includes the scammer advising the victim that he/she owes back taxes to the US Treasury Department and the victim must pay immediately via money transfer or face arrest. Yet another scam entails the scammer calling and representing himself to be a debt collector from a utility company such as NYSEG wherein the scammer advises the victim that he/she has an overdue bill and that they must pay the overdue amount immediately while remaining on the phone with the scammer or their utilities will be shut off immediately. These are all scams.

Officials are asking anyone who receives these calls to hang up and contact police. The also provided links from the FBI, Internet Crime Complaint Center and Fraud.org with tips on how to avoid being a scam victim.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.