New Yorkers Warned Of New Phone ScamPosted: Updated:
The state is warning New Yorkers about a scam where callers threaten to harm their victims' family members if they don't pay a ransom.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a warning Friday, saying the phone scam has targeted people in the Syracuse area.
Here's how the phone calls typically play out: you get a call claiming your relative was involved in an accident with the scammer's nephew. The scammer claims to have taken your relative — often a daughter, wife, niece, or mother — from the scene of the accident to a nearby house. The scammer then demands money from you, claiming that the injured nephew does not have any insurance to pay related bills. The scammer tries to scare you into cooperating by claiming to be a drug dealer and/or a gang member.
In at least one instance, a woman was heard crying in the background of the call. The scammer makes the call seem even more personal by referencing the parties’ names and, in some instances, their addresses. In addition, the call appears to come from a Syracuse number and the scammer references specific Syracuse streets for the site of the accident.
In at least one call, the scammer tried to arrange for the consumer to make a payment on Fayette Street in Syracuse. When the consumers hesitated to cooperate, the scammer threatened to shoot their relatives. None of the consumers who reported receiving this call paid the scammers any money and no relatives were actually involved in an accident, kidnapped, or harmed, the AG's Office said.
“These scammers are preying on New Yorkers’ worst fears in a shameful attempt to turn a quick buck,” said Schneiderman.
If you get such a phone call, you're asked to contact New York State Police at 1-800-GIVETIP.