INDEPENDECNE TOWNSHIP, NJ (Warren County) – Law enforcement officials say that suspected threats made against an Independence Township school and a student were a “scam and not credible.”
On Tuesday, a parent of a student in the Independence Township school district received a threatening message through a third party messaging app called WhatsApp, Independence Township Police said Thursday.
A ransom of $1000 was requested and threats to the student and the school were made. Officers were made aware of the situation by school officials after the parents called the school with their concerns, police said,
Once informed by the school, officers provided security and secured the parents cell phone. The Warren County Prosecutors Office was able to trace the number, which was sending the messages, back to Latin America, police said.
A photo of the student was sent to the parents along with the threats. The student was never in danger and was in school at the time. The photo and parents phone number were both taken from their public Facebook page, police said.
It was determined that the threat was a scam and not credible, but all precautions were taken until that determination was made. Officers provided security at the schools and the Superintendent initiated a shelter in place, police said.
“These scams can be very vicious in nature and trigger a very emotional response from parents and students alike. If you are contacted by a foreign number with threatening messages contact the police immediately. Keep your information secure i.e making your social media accounts private. If your account is public all of your pictures, phone numbers and emails are accessible to whoever wants them,” police said.