Chief John J. Bryfonski and the Bedford Police Department are warning the community about an increasingly common type of scam known as a bail scam, in which callers claim an individual has been arrested or is wanted on a warrant and needs bail money immediately.
The Bedford Police Department has been notified that several individuals in Bedford have recently received calls that claim to be from Bedford Police, and which claim that the person being called is wanted on an arrest warrant. The caller claims that the warrant can be taken care of by paying bail to a bail bondsman.
In reality, only appearing in court can clear up an arrest warrant. Neither police nor the courts will ever call someone demanding money to clear up an arrest warrant or criminal matter.
A related variant of bail scams, as they are commonly called, targets family members with stories of a grandchild or relative being under arrest. The scams request urgent bail money be provided, and scammers often encourage would-be victims not to contact police or other family members.
The scammer requests bail payment in cash or gift cards be given to a person posing as a courier or bail bondsman who arrives at the victim’s home. Or, the scammer requests money be transferred via a wire service, such as Western Union.
Government agencies, including law enforcement, never contact the public demanding payment by wire transfer or by prepaid cards when individuals are being held on bail.
While it is extremely difficult to recover funds lost as a result of these scams, residents and community members should always report these scams to the police.
The Bedford Police Department reminds residents that any arrest or detainment of relatives can be confirmed with the arresting police department or through the local district court clerk’s office, as can the existence of an arrest warrant.
“No one from any police agency will ever call you and demand money over the phone,” said Chief Bryfonski. “These increasingly common scams seek to play on individuals’ love for their family members, but we hope residents will recognize these scam calls for what they are — an illegal attempt to steal money from well-meaning people.”
The Bedford Police Department would like to share the following tips from the Federal Trade Commission regarding these types of scams:
- Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
- Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
- Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
- Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
- Don’t wire money – or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
- Remember that police and the courts never take payment by pre paid gift cards.
- Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.
For more information on grandparent and bail scams, click here.
Residents who believe they may have received a scam call or residents who believe they have fallen victim to such a scam are encouraged to contact the Bedford Police Department at 603-472-5113.