An anonymous caller threatened Nov. 28 to shoot the father or brother of a Croton woman if she didn't hand over $2,000.
The Grand Street resident confirmed that her family members were safe and called police, said Detective Sgt. John Nikitopoulos. She told police the caller, a man with a Hispanic accent, said that he had her father or brother and would shoot him in the head if the money was not forthcoming. However, her dad and her two brothers were accounted for.
It is possible that the ID fraud was connected to the fact that the father had been changing utility providers and had given out personal information including his daughter's cell phone number, police said.
The family was given instructions about reporting the identity fraud to the necessary financial and government agencies.
It is unusual for a local phone scam to include a threat of violence, Nikotopoulos said.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, "Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain."
This section of the DOJ website includes information about typical ID thefts and ways to prevent becoming a victim. Some SCAM tips include:
- Be stingy about giving out your personal information to others.
- Check your financial information regularly, and look for what should be there and what shouldn't.
- Ask periodically for a copy of your credit report.
- Maintain careful records of your banking and financial accounts.