Police throughout Ulster County are asking residents to be aware of a telephone scam where the caller tricks a victim into thinking a close friend or family member has been in an accident or arrested and then requests money for bail or an attorney.
The Saugerties Police Department said in a news release that the scammer pretends to place the phone call “on behalf of a loved one or close friend of the victim” informing them of the friend or loved one’s arrest or accident.
Authorities said the scammer will attempt to either obtain money for bail, or pretend to be an attorney, and request a retainer fee to represent their family member or friend.
Police said they are investigating numerous grand larceny complaints in connection with the scam.
Authorities noted one incident where the scammer, claiming to be an attorney representing a victim’s grandson, told the victim he’d have to pay $12,000 to get his grandson released from jail.
Police said the scammer then told the victim they’d send a courier to the victim’s residence to pick up the money, and the victim proceeded to withdraw the $12,000 from his bank account.
Later when the victim returned home, an unknown subject arrived claiming to be the courier and collected the cash.
Police said anyone experiencing a similar call or communication should reach out to local police, State Police or the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident so authorities can verify if a call is genuine or is a scam.