State Police warn of phone scam targeting elderly

Posted 9 November 2020 at 1:47 pm

Press Release, State Police, Troop A

BATAVIA – The State Police is warning the public on a recent increase of phone scams to elderly citizens. This scam includes a few different scenarios:

  • The caller claiming to be a family member to have an illness or was arrested. This caller will put urgency on helping them and not to contact other family.
  • The caller claims to be a law enforcement official with a family member under arrest demanding bail or funds for them. (Police agencies do not contact family for bail money.)

The caller in both scenarios will advise the victim to get a specific amount of money and buy gift cards from popular stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target and other big retail stores. The victim is told to call a number and read off the gift card identification number.

If you receive a call you believe to be a scam:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately – no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the caller’s identity – Ask questions that a stranger couldn’t answer. Check with a family member to see if the information is true.
  • Don’t send cash, gift cards or money transfers – once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone!

If you have parents or elderly people in your family, take the time to explain this scam to them.

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