The Utica Police Department has received several Phone Scam reports over the last few weeks.

Utica PD reports on callers saying they're a member of law enforcement, an attorney, or an employee of the court system. The caller then states that a family member has been arrested or is otherwise in trouble and an immediate fee is required to rectify the situation. They're then instructed to wire transfer money to a specific location and their relative will be released.

Other reported scams in CNY involve callers pretending to be The Internal Revenue Service or The Social Security Department. These callers inform the victim that they owe an outstanding balance, have warrants for their arrest, or that their social security number has been compromised. They then request immediate payment to avoid any future issues and clear the trouble at hand.

Utica PD says:

In some instances, large sums of money have been transferred during these scams, and while we actively and aggressively investigate these cases, they are difficult to solve.

If you feel you have been the victim of a scam, you're urged to contact the Utica Police Department or your local agency.

Here are some basic tips to avoid becoming a victim from Utica PD:

1. Don't give out personal information:

Never give personal information over the phone, via email, or other electronic means. Legitimate agencies and businesses will never ask for your personal information, i.e. SSN or bank account information.

2. Don’t believe your caller ID.

Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real

3. Consider how you pay.

Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards and gift cards. Government offices do not ask and will never require you to use these payment methods

4. Talk to someone.

Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. These people want you to make decisions in a hurry. Slow down, try not to panic, and verify the story first. If you ask questions, they may even try to threaten you, but always verify first.

5. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Typically, banks make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you may responsible for repaying the bank.

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