The NYSP is warning the public on a recent increase of scams. In just a few weeks of 2023, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in WNY are seeing an increase of high volume scams. These scams include a few different scenarios:
*The caller claiming to be a family member and has 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.
*The caller claims to be law enforcement claiming that your Social Security Number or Bank Accounts have been “compromised”. The caller will ask important information to “verify” the identity of the person they are calling, getting the victims information including SS# and bank account numbers.
*Emails or texts with an URGENT message stating that your Social Security number, bank account, cable provider, Apple account, Amazon account, Netflix account has been “compromised” and needs immediate attention.
**Police agencies do not contact family for bail money
**Police agencies do not ask for money to fix SS#’s or bank accounts
**Police agencies do not send text messages asking for account information as part of an investigation.
The caller in most scenarios will advise the victim to get a specific amount of money in multiple ways including:
*Purchasing gift cards from popular stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target and other big retail stores and then reading over the phone to the caller or sending the bar code on the back of the gift card to the caller. These gift card increments could be anywhere from $50-$500.
*Sending cash by mail in a box packaged a certain way the caller will explain, usually wrapped in tinfoil or heavily taped package.
*Purchasing Bitcoin or Crypto Currency with a QR code provided by the caller.
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.
DO NOT send cash, gift cards or money transfers. Once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone!
DO NOT give your personal banking account information by email or over the phone OR log into bank accounts as directed by the caller (Screen Mirroring).
If you have parents or elderly people in your family, take the time to explain these scams to them.
It is estimated that over $1,000,000 has been exchanged from the victims in State Police cases in 2021.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation are continuing to work these cases, but most times the suspects are out of the Country and due to complexity of the cases, victims will not get the money they sent.