Scam artists have come up with another way to separate people, especially the vulnerable, from their money.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Department warned residents on Tuesday about scammers gleaning the names of relatives of a potential victim from obituary announcements and other public records.
In this scam, the victim is called by someone pretending to be a family member who has been arrested. This “jailed” relative - sometimes claiming to be a grandchild - may be crying, or say they are sick and that’s why they sound strange. They tell the victim they need money to get out of jail.
In another version of this scam, a second person claiming to be a police officer calls the victim and stresses that the victim is under a gag order and must not talk about this case to anyone or risk arrest themselves. The victim is then instructed to get “pre-paid credit cards, wire transfers, or money orders from stores and send them” to bail their loved one out.
This is nothing but a scam, said the sheriff’s department. Law enforcement agencies can’t impose gag orders and they don’t accept bond payments in the form of pre-paid credit cards, gift cards or wired money, the sheriff’s department said.
If you receive a call like this, call local law enforcement.
“ It is so much better to get law enforcement involved prior to sending the funds because once they are gone, you will likely never see that money again,” the news release concludes.