If a caller asks for money and claims to represent the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, hang up.

Sheriff Shaun Golden issued a warning today, saying that his officers uncovered the solicitation ruse after fielding a slew of reports from home and business owners claiming that phone solicitors tried to con them out of "donations" and occasionally resorted to harassment.

According to Golden, investigators traced the calls to Alliance Fundraising of Princeton.

He calls it "inexcusable" and says there's no tolerance level.

"Our agency does not make calls for contributions of any kind, nor does it authorize the solicitation of contributions," Golden said in a prepared release.

"We will aggressively investigate such scams and pursue all avenues of complaints both on the criminal and civil side."

If you think you've been targeted, call the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 732-431-7139. County, state and federal investigators assume jurisdiction depending on the borders within which an issue spreads.

Golden said some companies are occasionally hired to place calls for organizations that represent unions in his office. However, his office neither endorses nor benefits from the practice.

Organizations representing certain bargaining units within the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office frequently hire companies to conduct telephone or mail solicitations on behalf of their members.

Golden said he has no problem with these types of  solicitations, provided they stay within guidelines set by the New Jersey Attorney General's office. But they are not endorsed by, nor do they benefit, the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office.

Golden recommends several simple steps to ward off phone scammers:

  • Hang up.
  • Scrutinize offers of "help," especially if someone claims to be a law enforcement officer offering help for a fee.
  • If you don't want to hear from the caller again, say so. If you receive another call, report it.

If you get a solicitation for money that seems to be from the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office and you suspect a scam, note the date, time and originating number, and reported it 732-431-7139.