Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace is warning citizens to beware of a bail scam that has been reported in the county. This scam targets parents or grandparents who receive a phone call from a person claiming to be their child or grandchild. Usually the connection is poor or there is significant background noise. The imposter claims to be in custody of the police, usually in Canada or another state. After a brief plea from the imposter, another scammer pretending to be a police officer, lawyer or bail bondsman will come on the line and explain the procedure for providing a money order or bank check to release their loved one.
Gerace said these are professional scam artists who prey on people’s emotions and they are very convincing. They always present emergent conditions where you must provide the money immediately and they always have a twist involving secrecy. They want you to keep the transaction a secret. This is so you are not given good advice from people who may recognize it as a scam. These scam artists will either trick you into telling them the name of your child or grandchild or they may have this information from a number of possible sources. Many people provide tremendous information about themselves and their families on social networking sites.
If you receive such a call, it is recommended that you call the police department that supposedly has your loved one in custody to verify that they have been arrested. You can also call local law enforcement to report this scam and to ask them for their assistance in verifying the custody of the person in question.