Category Archives: News

Rental Scam Alert

The Sea Girt Police Department is currently investigating a series of summer home rental scams. In each of these incidents the victims located a home for rent on craiglist.com. The advertisement shows photographs of the home along with a list of amenities available. The victims communicated with the person who claimed to be a homeowner via e-mail. After reaching an agreement, an official looking invoice is e-mailed to the victim along with check in instructions and rules for the rental. They are then asked to make the required payments by wiring money into a bank account listed on the invoice. The victims arrive at the home at the agreed on check in date and time to find the home is not for rent. In one case the victim found an empty lot where the home was supposed to be. Thousands of dollars have been lost to this scam in Sea Girt just this summer.

The victims of previous scams are from New York, Virginia, and Massachusetts. The most recent advertisements for Sea Girt are believed to have been run on the Jersey Shore, North Jersey, New York City, and Long Island pages of Craigslist.

The scammer will often use real estate websites to locate homes which have recently sold in the area. They will download photographs of the homes along with the description from the original MLS listing. They will use this information to craft an advertisement for rental sharing or trading websites.
The true homeowners are not aware that their home is listed for rent. They are usually only made aware their home was listed for rent when the victim arrives at the home for the check-in or inspection.

Scams are a reality of shopping online. The Sea Girt Police Department would like to make sure visitors to the Jersey Shore do not fall victim to this scam.
Tips for avoiding a summer rental scam:

  • Most homeowners who rent their home seasonally will use a licensed real estate company to assist in the transaction. Whenever possible, home rentals should be conducted through a licensed realtor or through a professional property management company.
  • If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Take the time to seek out comparable properties and see if the home you are interested in is priced close to similar homes in the area.
  • Most scams involve a request to wire funds directly to another bank account or use a wire service such as MoneyGram, Western Union or any other online money transfer service. Do not wire funds to anyone you have not met or know personally.
  • Be wary of long-distance landlord. Many of the scams come from outside of the United States or from areas far away from where the home is located.
  • Check the advertisement carefully for typos, grammatical errors, improper wording, or phases which appear out of context. These advertisements will often contain errors
  • Any request for your bank account information, social security number, or request you cell phone number in order to send a confirmation code or verification code are indications of a scam. Most homeowners or professional property managers will not request this information to be sent through e-mail.
  • Be aware of any person who will not communicate over the phone or will keep the conversation very short without much detail.

The person claims to be affiliated with Zillow, Craiglist or other website to help facilitate your rental.
If you suspect the home you are trying to rent is potentially involved in one of these scams, take some extra time to do you due diligence. A simple internet search on the address of the home you are trying to rent can provide a wealth of information. If the home has been rented before, you may be able to see reviews and other information about the home. If the home recently sold, you may be able to find the real estate company who facilitated the sale. The real estate agent may be able to assist you in determining if the home is really for rent. They may also assist you in getting in contact with the current homeowner which may be different than the person listed in the advertisement.
If you sent any money or bank account information over the internet, contact your bank institution immediately.

For more information on rental scams please see:

Federal Trade Commission

RentalScams.org

Anyone having information of a rental scam in Sea Girt is urged to contact the Sea Girt Police Department at 732-449-7300 ext. 432 or call Monmouth County Crime Stoppers at 800-671-4400. If you suspect you are the victim of a scam, please contact the local police department where the rental exists.

Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation

The Sea Girt Police Department will be conducting a pedestrian decoy operation in the area along Washington Boulevard during the afternoon hours on June 27th. This area will be targeted due to the high number of pedestrians who cross at the various intersections to walk to the businesses in the area. The Sea Girt Police Department receives complaints from citizens about drivers who often fail to stop as required.

The purpose of the pedestrian decoy operation is to target drivers who are discourteous to pedestrians crossing in designated crosswalks and help educate drivers who are not familiar with the pedestrian right of way laws.

During the operation an officer, in plain clothes will cross the roadway at clearly marked, designated crosswalks. These officers will make it clear that they intend to cross the roadway. Violators of the pedestrian right of way laws will be stopped and educated in an effort to prevent future pedestrian collisions. Officers will also take the opportunity to educate pedestrians who are observed crossing in areas other than designated crosswalks.

In 2013 (the latest statistics published by the State Police) there were 542 traffic fatalities in the State of New Jersey and 132 of those were pedestrians. In Monmouth County there were 5 pedestrians killed in traffic collisions in 2013. Pedestrians crossing in marked crosswalks accounted for 22 fatalities in 2013 and 55 fatalities were pedestrians crossing where crossing is prohibited.
Drivers in the State of New Jersey are required to stop and stay stopped for pedestrians who are crossing a roadway in a crosswalk and no driver shall pass a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk. Pedestrians crossing New Jersey’s streets shall cross at crosswalks when available. Drivers who fail to stop for a pedestrian in marked crosswalk is subject to 2 points and a $200.00 plus any applicable court costs or insurance surcharges.

Pedestrian decoy enforcement operations are expected to take place periodically throughout the busy summer months in Sea Girt and various locations. Pedestrian safety is always a concern and therefore our officers will routinely enforce these laws at all times while out on patrol.
The Sea Girt Police Department hopes, through publicizing this enforcement operation in advance, the number of violations will be greatly reduced and pedestrian crossings will be safer.

Patrolman Joule Receives Commendation

Patrolman William C. Joule received a commendations from the 200 Club of Monmouth County.

He responded to a local business for a report of a woman who passed out.  Upon arrival Patrolman Joule immediately assessed the situation and began life saving efforts that included CPR and placement of a defibrillator.  Under normal circumstances police are relived one the first aid arrived and takes over care, however Patrolman Joule remained with the victim and continued management of the defibrillator and never stopped chest compressions.  The medics on the scene advised the Chief of Police that Patrolman Joule’s outstanding efforts resulted in this woman walking out of the hospital and making a full recovery.  The 200 Club of Monmouth County recognized Patrolman Joule and has presented him with a commendation award.

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Warning of Recent Scams

Frequent scams:

IRS Scam

As we close tax filing season, residents are cautioned of the IRS scam. Scammers call people in attempt to have them wire money to satisfy an outstanding IRS debt they owe. These criminals claim to be IRS agents threatening to arrest people, suspend their driver’s license or increase a debt that they already have if they do not make immediate payment. They may require payment through a prepaid debit card or wiring funds through Western Union.
Things to look for in the IRS scam;

  •  Scammers may know personal information such as last 4 digits of SSN
  •  Scammers may use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers
  •  Scammers may alter caller ID’s to reflect IRS shows up on victims caller ID
  •  Scammers may follow phone calls up with fake emails

The IRS initiates business through the US mail. If you feel you may have an outstanding issue with the IRS, please initiate a phone call to the IRS by calling 1.800.829.1040.
According to the IRS, as of March 9, 2015 3000 people have fell victim to this scam in a reported 15.5 million dollars in losses. This is an average of $5,000.00 per victim and the largest single loss was $500,000.00.
Please be aware of other scams, unfortunately scams have been surfacing for years and most likely will continue. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with some of the more frequent scams;

Grandparent Scam;

A grandparent receives a phone call (or sometimes an e-mail) from a “grandchild.” If it is a phone call, it’s often late at night or early in the morning when most people aren’t thinking that clearly. Usually, the person claims to be traveling in a foreign country and has gotten into a bad situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in a car accident, or being mugged…and needs money wired ASAP. And the caller doesn’t want his or her parents told.

Sometimes, instead of the “grandchild” making the phone call, the criminal pretends to be an arresting police officer, a lawyer, a doctor at a hospital, or some other person. And we’ve also received complaints about the phony grandchild talking first and then handing the phone over to an accomplice…to further spin the fake tale.

We’ve also seen military families victimized: after perusing a soldier’s social networking site, a con artist will contact the soldier’s grandparents, sometimes claiming that a problem came up during military leave that requires money to address.

While it’s commonly called the grandparent scam, criminals may also claim to be a family friend, a niece or nephew, or another family member.

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scam

You receive a letter, email or text message saying you have won a prize in a lottery or sweepstakes that you did not even enter.

You are asked to send a fee or bank account details to collect your prize. Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee to collect winnings.

A full street address is not given. Instead, a post office (PO) box number, email address or mobile phone number is provided as a contact point.

The sender claims that they have identified you as a winner by randomly choosing your email address. Official lottery offices do not select prize winners this way nor do they use email to advise players that a prize has been won. Sweepstake scammers email as many people as they can.

The sender claims the offer is legal. The sender claims the offer has government approval.
Public awareness is the only way to eliminate these scams. Unfortunately, investigating these crimes are very difficult because in most cases the scammers are working outside the United States.

Here are some general tips to avoid scams and identity theft.

  • Do not wire money to anyone you are not familiar with
  • Do not open unsolicited emails
  • You initiate phone calls to the IRS for inquires@ 1-800-829-1040
  • Avoid donating through phone solicitation
  • Take your time and do not let someone rush you into making a bad decision
  • If it seems suspicious, it usually is, when in doubt call your police dept.
  • Review your social media profiles and make sure your personal and family information is not public. (Grandparent Scam)
  • Shred your personal information, this is another gateway to becoming a victim of fraud and scams
  • Be skeptical do not trust anyone, report anything you think is suspicious to your local police.
  • Obtain an annual credit report, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.

Chief Kevin T. Davenport

Sea Girt Police Department

(732) 449-7300

Seals and Other Mammals on the Beach

During this time of the year it is not unusual to see a harbor seal on the beaches of Sea Girt.  Seals are amphibious.  They are at home on land and in the water.

What can you do if an animal strands on the beach?

If you see a whale, dolphin, seal or sea turtle in Sea Girt contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Center’s hotline at 609-266-0538.  The center is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you see a seal, DO NOT APPROACH THE SEAL ON THE BEACH AND KEEP PETS ON A LEASH AND AT LEAST 50FT AWAY FROM THE SEAL.  Seals are predators and will bite if they get scared.

Marine Mammal Stranding Center