Law enforcement agencies in the Hudson Valley are cautioning about a returning scam making the round involving fraudsters posing as corrections officers claiming there is a warrant out for their victims’ arrest.
The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert after receiving multiple reports from local residents regarding a scam involving the phony arrest warrants that can disappear if they are paid a certain amount of money.
“Scams are ways in which criminals will attempt to get money from people by contacting them and making up elaborate stories,” according to the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. “In some cases the perpetrators have tried, sometimes successfully, to use the victim’s emotions about a loved one in trouble to get money. It’s common for the perpetrators of these scams to try to get money by telling people that one of their relatives has been seriously hurt or is in jail and that they need money right away.
“In many cases, they will pose as a law enforcement official or another relative to try and convince the victim that it’s legitimate.”
According to Capt. John Watterson of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, they have received at least two reports from residents that received calls from scammers claiming to be a law enforcement official saying that there is a warrant out, but the prosecution can be avoided if they are paid off.
The latest reports came from Dutchess residents on Thursday, Oct. 14, and in both instances, the fraudsters posed as officials from the Dutchess County Jail.
To avoid becoming the victim of a scam, the Sheriff’s Office issued a series of tips:
- Legitimate law enforcement would not attempt to satisfy a warrant or make promises to avoid prosecution by soliciting money;
- If you receive an email about an order you didn’t place or asking you to send money call the company using a legitimate number;
- Do not follow the instructions in the email or call the number provided in the email;
- If someone asks you to purchase merchandise, transfer money, provide bank information, or enter a code given to you by them use caution as it is likely a scam;
- Do not meet up with someone that you don’t know; if you’re asked to do this it is surely a scam, and it is very dangerous as well;
- If you’re contacted by someone you don’t know asking for money, for any reason, that’s a signal that it’s most likely a scam;
- If someone calls you and tells you that a relative has been hurt or is in jail, confirm it first before sending any money. Call other relatives or a legitimate law enforcement agency for confirmation before any money is sent. If they’re posing as a relative, try and contact that relative for confirmation;
- Sending money overseas is especially risky; use extreme caution;
- Ask the person for their call back number and ask to speak to their supervisor to confirm the info; if it’s a scam they will most likely hang up at this point and the number they give you will be bogus;
- If the person is telling you that a loved one is in the hospital or jail, find out which one and contact the institution yourself to confirm;
- If a loved one has recently passed away be wary; in some cases, perpetrators have even preyed on victims by searching through the obituaries and calling surviving loved ones. If you get calls from people you don’t know soon after someone passes away, be careful and confirm it before you send any money;
- Scams tend to increase during the holiday season, be especially alert for them during those times.
"It is very important to not send any money to anyone that you don’t know until you’ve confirmed the situation through an independent source and feel comfortable with it," officials noted. "If it’s a scam once the money is sent it’s very difficult, and most times impossible, to get it back."
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