Bangor Police Warn of a Bail Scam that Got 1 Resident for $18K
Bangor Police say scammers got thousands from a local resident with a new version of an old scam that involved picking the money up in person.
How Did The Old Scam Work?
This particular scam has been around for quite a while. Let's set the scene for the way it used to work:
Your grandmother is sitting in her favorite chair when the phone rings. She answers and hears someone who claims to be a family member, like a grandson or nephew, telling her that they're in trouble with the law and need bail money, as soon as possible. They prey on her sympathy and love for family to get her to give them financial information, like credit card numbers.
In recent years, the scam has become well-publicized, making many people wary of any phone call that demands immediate payment. The scam artists know this and so they've altered the pitch a little bit to make it appear more legitimate.
What's the New Wrinkle in the Bail Scam?
Bangor Police Sergeant Wade Betters says that in this latest case, the victim was told that an attorney would be stopping by their house to pick up the money.
The scammers are/were very talented 'actors.' They were very convincing.
As soon as the scammers got the money, they disappeared...with the victim's payout of over $18,000.
What Do I Do If I Get One of These Calls?
Anytime you receive a call like this, be wary. You didn't initiate the call and someone is asking you for money. This is a huge red flag.
Stay calm because they prey on your panic and fear. Never give someone like this any personal and/or financial information. Instead, hang up and call someone you trust. If they claimed to be your grandson, for instance, call your own son or daughter and ask if it's legitimate. Is Billy really in jail?
And never, ever call someone back using the number that came up on your caller ID, because that's probably a fake. When in doubt, call the police and tell them the details of the call.
Unfortunately, once the money is been given to scammers, whether it's cash, credit card, or a prepaid phone card, the victim will likely never see it again. Scammers are clever so it's important for us to be a little bit smarter.