Suffolk County residents should be on the lookout for telephone scams, the Suffolk County Police Department said after scammers targeted several Long Islanders this week.
The department has gotten more than a dozen reports of telephone scams where “potential victims are asked to wire money immediately for a family member in trouble,” police said.
Police say the caller will attempt to pressure the victim into sending money without verifying the family member’s whereabouts.
In one scenario, the caller tells the victim that they have just been in a car accident with a relative of the victim who refuses to pay for the damage and claims to have the family member at gunpoint until the victim pays thousands of dollars, according to a police press release.
Other scenarios may include tricking the victim into wiring money to bail out a family member from jail or pay off a faked debt, police said. In these scams, the victim is asked to withdraw money from an ATM and the caller will guide them to where they can wire the money.
The department has gotten reports of about 70 similar scams and believe that dozens more have gone unreported, police said. Police investigations have found that the victims are selected randomly.
The Suffolk County Police Department has advised residents to “independently verify the threatened relative’s whereabouts” and not share any personal information during a call. Those who believe they’re being targeted by a scammer should call the Suffolk County Police Department at (631) 852-2677.