State Police warn of phone scam targeting elderly
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.