Toms River businesses and residents have been victimized by at least six fraud cases involving a suspect who identifies him or herself as a Jersey Central Power and Light employee, police said.
On Tuesday at 5:25 p.m., a local motel was contacted by phone and told that they had an overdue bill in the amount of $2,279 and that if a cash payment was not made the electricity would be shut off. The business owner knew that he was not in arrears and he phoned JCPL who confirmed that he was being scammed.
A second incident occurred on Wednesday at a local restaurant. The restaurant representative received a phone call from an alleged JCPL employee who stated that they were $1,862 behind in payments and that if the amount was not paid right away they would have the electrical service turned off, police said. Out of fear of losing electrical service and the resulting loss of business the representative agreed to pay by credit card. The phone caller then talked them into using a “Money Pack” card to pay over the phone. The restaurateur then went to a local pharmacy and purchased the cards and phoned back the purported JCPL employee who then took the phone payment.
In four other incidents dating back to March 2014 the same fraud was attempted claiming various amounts were not paid and the JCPL collections and shut off unit would be responding to discontinue service. In all of these cases the victims were not deceived. There were several different phone numbers and names used by the suspect however one number was used at least two times indicating the same suspect is involved.
Toms River police urge residents to be cautious when giving out personal information over the phone and to take notes during any suspicious calls that may be helpful to investigators. Jersey Central Power and Light advises residents to contact them directly at the phone number on their bill to check the status of their account if they are contacted over the phone