In a string of recent reports to Virginia State Police, phone scammers have been targeting senior citizens and using them to get money.
The scammers have personal information of the victim ranging from social security numbers and date of births to names of family members. They advise the victims that they should send over hundreds of dollars in gift cards or a similar payment to a specified account, to release a relative who has been arrested and incarcerated.
They then walk the victim through a step by step process on how to submit payment. Many senior citizens are falling victim to this scam because of how convincing and realistic these con artists seem to be.
“The scammer will often pressure, threaten and be verbally abusive in order to intimidate the victim into complying with the scammer’s demands,” said officials in a press release.
These calls will come in from a number that appears to be from a nearby state police officer or local police or sheriff’s office, as the scammers have figured out a way to manipulate the caller ID. The scam artists are using pre-paid phones and in most cases, are not located in the area where the crime occurred, which makes it increasingly difficult to catch them.
Local authorities are urging residents and senior citizens to be cautious of these calls and to report these “spoofing” calls immediately.
“If you receive such a call, hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency or the Virginia State Police,” said officials in the press release.
Complaints can also be made to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which works with other law enforcement agencies to bring scam artists to justice and put an end to unfair and misleading business practices. If you have a complaint, file it online or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
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