The elderly population is being pried upon in central New York.

The New York State Police area warning of a recent increase of phone scams to elderly citizens. The scam includes a few different scenarios:

  • The caller claims to be a family member and either has an illness or was arrested. The caller will put urgency on helping and ask them not to contact any other family members.
  • The caller claims to be a law enforcement official with a family member under arrest and demands bail or funds for them.
  • Police agencies do not contact family for bail money.

    The caller in both scenarios will advise the victim to get a specific amount of money and buy gift cards from popular stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target and other big retail stores. The victim is then told to call a different number and read off the gift card identification number.

    If you receive a call you believe to be a scam the New York State Police says there are several things you should do:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately - no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the caller’s identity - Ask questions that a stanger couldn’t answer. Check with a family member to see if the information is true.
  • Don’t send cash, gift cards or money transfers - once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone.
  • If you have parents or elderly people in your family, take the time to explain this scam to them.

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