Officials from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office have warned residents about a phone scam currently being run in the area.
The newest of these phone scams involves Jersey Central Power & Light. According to reports, the person calling tells the victims they are behind on their electric payments and if they don’t immediately pay the bill, their power will be shut off.
The scammers insist that victims must call 1-866-996-9725, ext. 3500 and ask for Lucas, after which payments of $500 must be made using Rite cards or Green cards, as opposed to credit cards.
JCP&L has issued its own warning, encouraging anyone who receives a call like this to immediately hang up and never to make a payment over the phone. They have also said that anyone who is behind on their electric bill will be sent a written notice in the mail.
It is hard to say if authorities will identify those involved in the last phone scam; however, this type of operation is a crime often charged as theft by deception in New Jersey. State law codifies theft by deception in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4, which describes this criminal activity as obtaining the property of another by creating or reinforcing a false impression. In other words, if a person purports to be someone or something they aren’t in order to obtain money or property from another, this is considered theft by deception.
A charge for theft by deception is graded based on the value associated with the alleged theft. As one might expect, the severity of these charges increases as the value of the theft increases. For example, theft by deception involving less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense, punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In the most serious cases involving more than $75,000, theft by deception is classified as a second degree crime which may result in up to 10 years in prison.
Due to the nature of theft by deception offenses, defendants in these cases often face related charges for fraud, forgery, or identity theft. If you or a loved one has been charged with any of these crimes, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the law offices of Proetta & Oliver in Toms River, New Jersey for a free consultation with an experienced theft defense lawyer. We can be reached 24/7 at (848) 238-2100 or contact us online.
For additional information regarding the Ocean County phone scam, access the following article: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office warns of phone scams