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VA: Police: Scammers targeting elderly, sex offenders by demanding money with person info

[wset.com – 6/21/18]

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — Virginia State Police said they have been alerted to an alarming increase in phone scams targeting seniors and convicted sex offenders.

Police said scammers are threatening people into paying hundreds of dollars in gift cards.

One popular scam making the rounds across the state is where the caller tells the person, most of the time an elderly person, on the phone that a relative has been arrested and incarcerated so they need money in order to be released from jail.

Police said the scammer can be very convincing by providing extensive personal information about the person they claim is in need of help.

State Police said centers are also getting calls from convicted sex offenders who are being told there is a warrant for their arrest.

The sex offender is told not to call state police and the only way to adjudicate the warrant is by paying off a fine.

Virginia law prohibits unlawful use of the information provided on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry for purposes of intimidating or harassing an individual listed on the registry.

With both incidents, police said the scammer tells the victim how the payment should be submitted, usually through an ‘eGift’ cash card or similar payment to a specified account or name given by the scammer.

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  1. AO

    My grandma was recently a target of one of these scams. A couple of weeks ago she received a phone call from my “brother” in Washington saying he’s been arrested on a DUI and needed $7k for bail. Money aside, this sent us in a spin because he’s due to be married in a few months and his job has a clause of zero tolerance for DUI as he works for a brewing company. Luckily she didn’t have the money to pay but for several hours we were in a panic. We called his fiance and it was a total shock to her. My dad started calling around various agencies in that area to find out the details, but of course no one had him. Finally he called my brother directly and we found out it was all a scam. It didn’t even occur to us to call him first given the situation. I posted about this on my Facebook and several friends replied that their families were also the target of such scams over the years. In some cases nothing came of it, and in others they actually lost money. And with much irony, people like that so directly pray on the vulnerable and naive will have much easier lives after serving their sentences than us while having much higher rates of recidivism.

  2. Joe123

    Does Common Sense not dictate that Maybe you should call the person directly who supposedly is in “trouble” to verify this information?

  3. Happy, joyous and free

    As a female RC, I got one of these. It was actually from a Washington, DC number. It’s actually related to scam calls from fake IRS agents saying there is a warrant for arrest. I generally do not answer unrecognized numbers on my phone. Reporting does little because the numbers are spoofed and they rotate to a different group of numbers to call after a number is targeted.

  4. Trish

    So ! Let’s get this right ! The law caused the problem ! Now the RCs must deal with it ! So every BS Law that hurts ex offenders ! The law excuses themselves ! And Society ignores RCs and the problems they condon ! How long does the Government expect ex offenders to accept this way of life ? Who is oppressed ? It is not right to keep ex offenders from RUGHT TO ASSEMBLE ! We need organizations to bridge the gap in the system, NOT TRY TO HANDLE THE LAWS ON THEIR TERMS WHILE RCs suffer and lose all life !

  5. Chris L

    Please share this! SCAM ALERT!!!! It is important. I live in Nevada having moved here from California where my conviction was. I have been living here for 2 years and so far all is well. UNTIL TODAY!!! I get a phone call from the 775 area code (I live in North Las Vegas which is a 702 area code) which is northern Nevada and more specifically, Carson City, the State Capitol. I answered and was told by the caller that he was Detective Michael Edmondson from the Clark County (southern Nevada, Las Vegas, etc.) Sheriff’s office and that I was receiving a courtesy call because it has been noted that I was out of compliance with my registration. I just registered about 3 weeks ago in the City of North Las Vegas and it was totally routine. Done and done, see ya next year. Anyhow he goes on to tell me that a judge has issued a warrant for my arrest due to my “failure”. He proceeds to tell me that the judge has set bail at $35,000 and that they can accept a “PC bond” (whatever that is) and that if I would show up at a certain address, I could take care of the matter and avoid arrest.

    The phone call lasted approx 30 minutes at which point the call got disconnected. I immediately called the Department of Public Safety and spoke to my caseworker there. Nevada is unique as far as I know where you can call the Capitol and speak to someone who oversees your case and registration requirements. After explaining everything to my caseworker, she advised me that it was most likely a scam, that I was in 100% compliance and that I should contact the North Las Vegas police department to file a report.

    During the time I was on the phone with DPS, the “detective” called back twice.

    I IMMEDIATELY left work and went to the police department. In the meantime, I called my wife who in turn called my sister who is a fraud investigator for a credit card company. Almost immediately, my sister found that this is a new and growing scam in Nevada. I made it to the police department and made an informational report. I also had them check me for warrants nationwide and, of course, there were none.

    This scammer was quite good. Sounded like about a 30 or so year old white male and even in the shock of the situation, along with my background, I was able to pick up on some red flags and that helped prevent the fraud. They even had a second person that the caller “dispatched” to arrest me and that person answered back via a two way radio. Further, when I called the number back from a different phone with a different area code than mine, It went to a voicemail that answered, “County Sheriff’s office, if you have an emergency, hang up and call 911. If you know the extension of the party you wish to reach, press 1… and a phone menu all the way down to “0”. The recording ends, “Thank you for calling the County Sheriff’s office where it is our obligation to keep the public safe.”

    Just be aware. If you feel that there are ANY red flags during a call like this, hang up on the person and call whomever you need to in your state, including the police. If there is a warrant for your arrest, the cops are going to show up at your door and hook you up. They are not going to call and give you a “courtesy warning” and be willing to negotiate your bail.

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