It seems that scammers are always coming up with new ways to con people out of money, and A 2nd Chance has been on the receiving end of some suspicious calls lately. We wanted to share our experiences with the hope that it will encourage others to be vigilant.
The Fake Emergency Scam
Our offices have recently fielded calls from people who wanted to confirm if someone was in jail and find out what they needed to do to bail them out. After not being able to locate said individual in any jail, we were able to confirm it was part of a scam.
This type of fraud has been circulating for a number of years. Basically, the scammer makes up an emergency – such as telling someone that their loved one is in jail – and demanding payment over the phone to cover bail. Also, known as the ‘grandparent’ scam, the caller plays upon the fears and emotions of older people who may be easily convinced to send money for a jailed grandchild.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, anyone who asks for money to be sent via check, overnight money order, or through a gift card or cash reload card “is always, always, always a scammer.”
Unless you know for certain that a loved one is in jail, we encourage you to use extreme caution when dealing with unsolicited phone requests. Remember: a reputable bail bonds company like A 2nd Chance Bail Bonds will require the cosigner or indemnitor on any bail bond to sign a contract either by email, fax or in person at our office. We would never demand the bail amount over the phone in exchange for someone’s immediate release.
Jury Duty Scam
We’ve also seen cases where so-called “deputies” from the jail/court call victims and tell them that they missed jury duty. As a result, they supposedly have active warrants/citations for their arrest, and they’re told that they must prepay a specific bonding company to avoid having to go to jail. The victim then contacts this “bondsman” who accepts their credit card information over the phone. The scammers are also now encouraging other forms of currency that are untraceable on the recipients’ side.
Older people, as well as those who may have moved recently, are targeted because the scammer is able to convince them that they could have missed a jury duty notice.
Both of these scams deliberately prey upon two common fears – either that a loved one is in trouble and urgently needs help or that you yourself are in trouble with the law. In either case, we can’t think of any situation in which a jail or court would demand immediate payment of money over the phone. If you get one of these calls, you’re wise to question everything and stop and get professional counsel.
If you have any questions about these scams or the bail bonds process in general, please call us at any time.