Police: Two men tried to rob Hudson Valley grandparents with bail scam

State Police in Middletown today arrested Hansel E. Barrett, 51 and Clayton L. Barton, 64, both of Queens, New York, for Grand Larceny 3rd Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny 3rd Degree (felonies) and Conspiracy 5th Degree (misdemeanor).

State police responded to a residence in the town of Wawayanda, Orange County, for a report of a “grandparent/bail bond scam.” A couple received a call from someone alleging to be their grandson, stating the he had been arrested and needed bail money. The couple were then put into contact with an alleged attorney who advised that he needed $8,700 in cash to bail their grandson out of jail. They were told that a courier would come to pick up the funds. This alleged courier arrived at their residence a short time later and retrieved the cash.

Shortly after the exchange, the couple received a call from the alleged attorney who advised that the bail had been increased and that they would need to supply an additional $13,500. The couple became suspicious and contacted their grandson who advised that he was fine and not under arrest. They then contacted the State Police in Middletown. Troopers and investigators waited for the suspect to return.  Upon his arrival at the couples’ residence he, along with an accomplice, were taken into custody.

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Clayton L. Barton and Hansel E. Barrett were arraigned before Judge O’Connor at Town of Wawayanda Court. Both are held on $25,000 cash bail/$75,000 bond at Orange County Jail.

Anyone who may have been victimized by this pair is asked to contact the State Police at Middletown at 845-344-5300.

State Police urge grandparents finding themselves in a similar situation to try and get hold of their grandchild or the child’s parents to confirm the status of the child before sending any money.

Grandparents can also ask a question only their grandchild would know such as the name of a pet, the grandchild’s mother’s birthday or the name of the grandchild’s elementary school.

Police urge anyone victimized in similar incidents to contact the New York State Police and/or New York Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-771-7755 and to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at ftc.gov/complaint or call 877-382-4357.


Here are some tips from the State Police if you receive a call like this:

Verify an emergency

If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money:

  • 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.
  • Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

 

Scammers use tricks

They impersonate your loved one convincingly.

It’s surprisingly easy for a scam artist to impersonate someone. Social networking sites make it easier than ever to sleuth out personal and family information. Scammers also could hack into the e-mail account of someone you know. To make their story seem legitimate, they may involve another crook who claims to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer.

 

They play on your emotions.

Scammers are banking on your love and concern to outweigh your skepticism. In one version of this scam, con artists impersonate grandchildren in distress to trick concerned grandparents into sending money. Sometimes, this is called a “Grandparent Scam.”

 

They swear you to secrecy.

Con artists may insist that you keep their request for money confidential – to keep you from checking out their story and identifying them as imposters. Victims of this scam often don’t realize they’ve been tricked until days later when they speak to their actual family member or friend who knows nothing about the “emergency.” By then, the money they sent can’t be recovered.

 

They insist that you wire money right away.

Scammers pressure people into wiring money because it’s like sending cash – once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back. Imposters encourage using money transfer services so they can get your money before you realize you’ve been scammed.

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