Roselle Park family falls for terrifying scam

Police say there's been an alarming trend in scam calls from Florida and Puerto Rico.

Police say there's been an alarming trend in scam calls from Florida and Puerto Rico. (2/7/13)

ROSELLE PARK - Criminals out of Florida and Puerto Rico have been scamming unsuspecting families, including one from Roselle Park.

Edward Melchionna got a call that his younger brother, Stefano, had been severely injured in a car crush near the Rutgers Newark campus, where he is a student. Within minutes, Melchionna and his father were in a car racing toward Newark.

"They said my brother had trauma to his head," Melchionna told News 12 New Jersey, "(that) he was bleeding from his mouth."

Even more frightening is that the caller knew personal information about Stefano, including his first and last name, make and model of his car, and his license plate number. Pretty soon, the calls became aggressive and demanding. The caller demanded $3,000, saying the crash was Stefano's fault, and that he'd be harmed if they did not provide the money.

It wasn't until Melchionna heard from his younger brother that he learned it was all an elaborate hoax.

"I don't even have words to describe how upset I am that this happened to us," Melchionna said.

According to police and the FBI, Melchionna is just one of many victims of this scam. The criminals obtain personal information, then reach out to family members hoping to catch them off-guard so they can make their demands.

The FBI office in San Juan, Puerto Rico says the culprits are often prison inmates with associates on the outside. Anyone who receives a similar call is advised to immediately hang up and call the police.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

From left to right: New Jersey State Trooper 1 New Jersey state troopers help deliver baby on I-287
The Pascack Valley High School girls lacrosse team 2 HS lacrosse team 'adopts' 8-year-old fighting brain cancer
Reuben Jiminez was able to wander away from 3 Toddler wanders away from Sayreville day care
News 12 New Jersey - Weather On The 4 New Jersey Weather Forecast
Sea Cliff's Troy Ramey was voted off 'The 5 Elisa's Entertainment for 4/26

advertisement | advertise on News 12


It's good to know you have Walt Kane Kane in Your Corner

It's good to know you have Walt Kane in your corner.

News 12 takes a look at the hottest Tech Check

Eric Landskroner has a look at the latest gadgets and biggest stories in tech.

News 12 On the Scene

Check out these exclusive videos from New Jersey celebs!

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.