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Suffolk Notebook: Police Caution Residents About Telephone Scams

Police receive dozens of reports about scammers seeking money from county residents.

Suffolk County Police have issued a warning to local residents about a string of recent telephone scams.

Police said they have received more than a dozen complaints this past week from residents saying they have received phone calls from unknown individuals seeking money to help a family member who is in "trouble."

In one scam, police said a caller pretends they are someone who knows that a family member is in trouble and needs to have money wired immediately. Under the scam, callers try to pressure the victim to send money without verifying the family member's whereabouts.

The caller presents the scam in a number of different ways. In one scenario, the caller makes the claim they were involved in a car accident with a relative of the victim who is refusing to pay for the damage. Another scenario involves the caller threatening that they are holding a family member at gunpoint until the victim pays several thousand dollars.

Other scams include the caller claiming a family member has been arrested and needs bail money, or that a family member owes someone else money. 

Each time, the caller will ask for money to be wired to them.

Police said they have received approximately 70 reports of similar telephone scams over the past five months, and believe that dozens more attempts have not been reported. A police investigation has determined the victims are randomly selected and the caller is usually able to convince residents the scenario is real. 

If called, residents are warned by police to verify the family member's whereabouts and not give out any personal information. All telephone scams should be reported to police for further investigation. 

• Foley Nursing Home Closure Begins

Suffolk County officials have issued lay off notices to county employees of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility and started transferring patients, the first steps to possibly closing the nursing home. 

Newsday reported that the county sent layoff notices to 180 employees stating they would be terminated or reassigned within 30 to 90 days, according to county spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter. The notices were sent after the state approved Foley's closure plan, which provides a two-month timeline to shut down the 264-bed nursing home. 

In addition, three of the nursing home's 195 patients were moved to other long-term care facilities in Suffolk. County officials said the transfers will continue unless opponents to the facility's $23 million sale back down. 

County Executive Steve Bellone has been attempting to strike a deal that would sell or lease the nursing home to Israel and Samuel Sherman for $23 million, but has come up against a lawsuit and change of zoning issues. 

Legis. John Kennedy Jr., R-Nesconset, and Legis. Kate Browning, WF-Shirley, together with union employees of the nursing home filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the sale of the nursing home. The lawsuit is currently pending before state Supreme Court. 

Also, Brookhaven Town officials voted to deny the county the change of zoning needed to move forward with sale of the nursing home. 

Read more on Newsday [subscription required] about the impending layoffs and transfer of patients.  

jennifer March 31, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Anyone who wires money to anyone who is unknow is an idiot. Of course call the police first. LoL
ce March 31, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Many times, the victim is an elderly person who might become quite upset. They may act without thinking carefully. For you to call them "idiots" is rude and insulting. Victims may not report these crimes because they are embarrassed when they realize that they have been fooled. Lighten up!
G March 31, 2013 at 07:28 PM
ce, People are way too quick to judge here. It just exposes their ignorance.
Team Abby April 01, 2013 at 03:40 AM
I totally agree. Or when "banks" or "Ebay" email you about your account information being compromised and ask you sign in or send info over through your email. People still fall for this. The first thing they do is call you directly if they notice it first.
Robert Stoops April 03, 2013 at 10:52 AM
Phone scams like that do happen everyday. As a matter of fact, there are complaints posted at http://www.callercenter.com everyday. But I don't think these schemes will still work. People, especially the seniors who are the likely targets, are now more well-informed and vigilant against suspicious calls.

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