On Friday, May 5, the New York State Police issued a warning to state residents about a recent surge in phone scams targeting seniors in the region.
According to the Wyoming County Free Press, the scam includes two main scenarios. In the first, the caller is “claiming to be a family member in trouble or arrested in another state or country. This caller will put urgency on helping them and not to contact other family.” In the second scenario, the caller “claims to be a law enforcement official with a family member under arrest demanding bail or funds for them.” Police remind citizens that they will never contact families for bail money.
In either scenario, the caller will ask the victim to put specific amounts of money on store gift cards, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target and other big retail stores. Then, the victim is instructed to call a number and read off the gift card identification number. If the victim complies, those gift cards will be used to buy and resell items.
The New York State Police are asking residents to make seniors in their life aware of this scam in attempts to prevent its future success.