We have all heard about various scams involving taking advantage of the elderly. There is currently a new rip-off for which Americans should be on high alert.
Recently, a Manhattan, Kansas woman was contacted by someone who she thought was a legitimate bail bondsmen. The predators called the unsuspecting woman and informed her that her grandson was at a wedding in Florida, got into some trouble and was arrested. They claimed that he needed bail money in order to be released from jail. Desperate to help him, she provided her credit card information and is now out $5,000. As it turned out, of course, her grandson was fine, had not been arrested and didn’t need bail money.
David Stuckman, Executive Vice President of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States, offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of this latest scam.
First, while he understands how it feels like an urgent matter when you receive a call of this nature - take a moment to breathe.
Second, if you receive such a call from a supposed bondsmen, ask them in what jail your loved one is being held. A bona fide bail agent will readily provide the name of the jail and you should call the jail directly to verify. Also, mention that you have a local bondsmen with whom you would like to contact for help. “Typically, the con-man will hang up at this point,” Stuckman notes.
Last, Stuckman advises to never provide your credit card information over-the-phone if you receive such calls.