POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (October 28, 2022) — The New York State Police in Westchester County are warning citizens of a phone scam after receiving multiple calls on what is known as an “Imposter Scam.” These scams usually involve someone calling and claiming to be from a trusted source such as law enforcement. The caller will claim to be an officer, possibly even using the real name of a local police officer, and could utilize technology that displays the fake name or a number matching the police disguise on your caller ID. The caller will attempt to convince the victim that they are in violation of the law, have an outstanding warrant, or have a relative involved in an emergency. They will then state money is needed for fines, medical payments, or bail. These scams ask for large sums of money transferred in unusual ways devoid of any face-to-face interaction. Once these thieves have extracted money they may also call back and try to get more.
The New York State Police offer the following tips to protect against the Scams:
- Take a pause. Scammers create a sense of urgency to prey on victims’ emotions and their love for family members.
- Verify any supposed emergency by calling friends and family before sending money. This is especially important if a potential victim has been warned not to do so by the caller.
- If the caller purports to be a bail bondsperson, ask where the relative is being held and contact the facility directly.
- If the caller purports to be a law enforcement officer, get the exact agency name, hang up, and call that department directly.
- Be suspicious of anyone who calls unexpectedly asking to be sent money.
- Never send cash through the mail.
- Never purchase pre-paid debit cards or gift cards for the purpose of transferring money.
- Develop a secret code or “password” with family members that can be used to verify the identity of family members over the phone.
- Ask a question that only the real family member would know the answer to, such as “what was the name of your first pet?”
- Set Facebook and other social media settings to private to limit information available to scammers, such as the names of relatives.
Additional information about scams can be found on the FTC.gov website.