The scam starts with a phone call to the victim. The caller will disguise their voice and identify themselves as the victim’s grandchild.
The caller will claim to have been arrested and in need of bail money, saying that they can’t talk for long. The caller then provides a call-back number that, when dialed, connects to a scammer claiming to represent local law enforcement.
The fake law enforcement representative will claim that the bail for the grandchild is between $8,000 and $10,000 but that it can be reduced to $2,000 to $3,000 if it’s paid immediately.
The victim is directed to go to a nearby grocery store or pharmacy and purchase several thousands of dollars’ worth of eBay gift cards.
The grandparent then calls back and is told to scratch off and provide the redemption codes for the gift cards.
The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents that no law enforcement agency or county jail accepts gift card redemption codes as payment for bail.
Furthermore, no discounts will ever be offered if a bail payment is “made immediately.”
“If someone calls you and tells you that a relative has been arrested or is in jail, call other relatives or a legitimate law enforcement agency for confirmation before sending any money. If they’re posing as a relative, try and contact that relative for confirmation,” says the Sheriff’s Department.
This investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has information regarding these scams is urged to contact Detective Kurt Twaddell at (845) 486-3828 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Sheriff’s Office can also be contacted via the tip line at (845) 605-CLUE (2583) or by email at email@example.com. All information will be kept confidential.
Click here to follow Daily Voice Northwest Dutchess and receive free news updates.