The New Hartford Police Department is warning the public of an ongoing issue with scammers approaching people at local shopping centers and making up elaborate stories to garner sympathy from their would be victims.

Police officials say they have been made aware of several instances in which people have reported being approached as they were shopping and getting a sob story of some kind. One of the most common stories a scammer gives is that they're stranded and need money to get their children home. The request comes in the form of an ask for gas money.

Another ploy that scammers are using is the request for a victim to buy items like watches or phones for cash that is needed by scammer. New Hartford Police say,

In many of these cases this is a scam, and or the property sold is defective, stolen or otherwise useless or the need to “get home” is not true. The scammer is just off to find the next victim.

The department is giving a number of tips for people to be vigilant and do their best to not become a victim. The biggest tip is to avoid these situations altogether. You are strongly encouraged not to engage in these curbside encounters. Most of these situations are likely scams and in some cases these individuals engaging with the public are wanted by law enforcement for other crimes. New Hartford Police specifically say that they are always patrolling the areas and if anyone is need of immediate help, they should call.

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