PSP Issues Warning About Romanian Crime Ring

The State Police is warning residents about a string of crimes being perpetrated by Romanian transnationals across Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania State | On August 26, 2022, The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) issued a warning advising residents and travelers about a group of Romanian transnational citizens posing as stranded motorists in need of financial assistance. The criminals approach customers in parking lots and gain sympathy with fabricated tales of despair, such as they are trying to provide for sick family members, starving children, attend a funeral, or need to get back home to other states. They offer to sell gold jewelry stamped as 18k, which later turns out to be counterfeit. They often travel in late-model luxury cars with out-of-state license plates, allowing them to move from city to city or state to state quickly and easily.

According to the PSP, the Romanian transnational criminals are accused of several crimes, including:

  • counterfeit jewelry scams
  • quick change schemes
  • cell phone theft
  • jewelry store distraction thefts
  • and placing card skimming devices on ATMs and self-checkout counters

The PSP recommends the following precautions:

  • Be cautious if approached to purchase gold jewelry, even when stamped as 18k. It may be counterfeit.
  • Do not feel pressured to purchase jewelry or any other item if approached, even if the seller claims hardship.
  • If something seems too good to be true, it likely is.
  • Ask the seller for very specific details about the jewelry, such as origin, brand, etc. Have it appraised if possible.
  • Never travel to an ATM with a stranger.
  • Contact law enforcement if you witness anyone trying to flag down other motorists while standing on the side of the highway.
  • Be aware of potential card skimming devices while using ATMs or self-checkout point-of-sale systems.
  • Monitor your checking and credit card accounts for suspicious activity.

The PSP urges residents to remain vigilant of their surroundings and report suspicious activity.