(WKTV) - New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Herkimer are warning against a telephone scam directed toward elderly women in the area.
One woman in the Town of Herkimer and one in the Town of German Flatts received the phone calls. In one incident, an man identifying himself as the victim's grandson said he had been arrested in Mexico and needed bail money in order to be released. The scam was not uncovered until after the woman had wired $3,000 via Western Union to Mexico, officials said.
According to state police, In the second scam, a man said he was a police officer and said the victim's grandson had been arrested, had drugs on him and needed bail money to be released. The victim wired $3,800 to an unknown person in New York City. In the second scam, the caller knew the name of the woman's grandson.
Residents are warned against sending money to anyone they don't know, particularly through Western Union or Moneygram, which are the preferred method used by scam artists. Once the money is picked up, it is almost impossible to recover. The scam artists are difficult to prosecute,as in most cases they are outside the United States.
Potential victims should be aware that the scammers may be in possession of personal information, making them appear legitimate.
Anyone receiving such a call should contact the State Police BCI at (315) 866-7275 immediately before wiring any money. An investigator can usually quickly determine whether or not the call is legitimate.