Suffolk County police—for the second time in two weeks—are warning residents of telephone scams during which scammers ask for a substantial amount of money for a family member in trouble.
The police department sent out a similar news release on Nov. 16 that detailed multiple scenarios that callers come up with to steal money from their victims. The department released the warning again due to increased reports of similar incidents since it was issued, police said.
Police said a potential victim would receive a telephone call from someone claiming they know a family member who is in trouble and needs money wired immediately. The caller then tries to pressure the victim to send money without verifying the family member’s name.
“In one scenario, the caller claims that they have just been in a motor vehicle crash with a relative of the victim who refuses to pay for the damage,” police said. “The caller claims to be holding the relative at gunpoint until the victim pays several thousand dollars.”
Callers will also try to trick unsuspecting residents by claiming a family member has been arrested and requires bail money or that a family member owes someone money. The victim is asked to withdraw money from an ATM and the caller will direct them to an institution where they can wire money, police said.
Investigators believe the victims are often chosen by random and “the caller is usually able to convince the target that the scenario is real,” police said.
It is a common scam that has been reported throughout the nation and locally in the past few years, police said.
“The Suffolk County Police Department advises residents to independently verify the threatened relative’s whereabouts and not to give out any personal information during the call,” police said. “If someone receives a call of this nature, they are advised to call the Suffolk County Police Department for further investigation.”