Senior citizens in Delaware are being targeted in two unrelated telephone solicitations aimed at relieving the older residents of cash and personal information, authorities said.

The alert comes from the state Attorney General’s Office whose Consumer Protection Unit has received numerous calls from the public about these latest scams.

The first scam was reported earlier this month by both New Castle County and Wilmington police, but bears repeating, said Jason Miller, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office.

In it, the senior citizen is contacted by an alleged local law enforcement officer or FBI agent who tells them they have an unpaid parking ticket or owe a tax, and then threatens them with jail or fines if they don’t turn over personal data or their debit/credit card information to them.

Using a tactic known as “caller ID spoofing,” the con artist’s telephone number appears on the victim’s caller ID as coming from a legitimate police department, Miller said.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden cautions residents that government agencies do not contact people by phone to collect fines.

If anyone calls to collect a fine claiming to be a law enforcement officer and is pressuring you to pay a fine over the phone, hang up, Biden said.

Do not call the number back on your caller ID. Call the law enforcement agency directly to see if you actually have an outstanding fine.

Another phone scam where seniors are called claims to be a representative of a well-known computer company claiming that a damaging virus has been detected in your computer.

The scammer says that the damage can be corrected remotely for a small fee, and requests the customer’s credit or debit card information, directing them to log onto a “secure website” from their computer to initiate the repair.

After the victim logs on to the site, their computer is infected remotely with a virus that collects personal data to commit identity fraud and ultimately crashes their computer.

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Biden warns residents to never give out your personal information, debit or credit card to strangers over the phone and allow them access to your computer.

“By recognizing the signs of a scam, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself against scams and fraud,” he said.

Anyone who received an unsolicited phone call like the ones above, call the Consumer Protection Unit Hotline at (800) 220-5424.

Contact Terri Sanginiti at (302) 324-2771 or tsanginiti@delawareonline.com

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