Police: Seniors need to watch out for new telephone scam

The Suffolk County Police Department’s Identity Theft Unit is warning residents of a telephone scam that specifically targets senior citizens.

A potential victim will receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild, nephew or an attorney acting on a family member’s behalf. The goal of the phone call is to persuade the potential victim that a young family member has traveled abroad, is in trouble, and needs money wired to them immediately, police said.

The usual scenario presented to the targeted individual may request bail money for a grandchild or other young family member arrested in Canada or Mexico, with a warning that if funds are not immediately wired, the relative will go to jail. The caller attempts to pressure the senior to send the funds immediately, before they can check with family members to verify the relative’s location. In most instances, the young adult in question is safe at home and has never left the house no less traveled abroad, police said.

The scam has been reported throughout the nation. The Suffolk County Identity Theft Unit said it recently received a report of this scam and has knowledge of several similar incidents during the past few years.

Detectives recommend that seniors who receive calls of this nature do not send any funds without first independently verifying the information regarding the family member by contacting them or their family. Do not succumb to the caller’s pressure to wire funds immediately.

For more information about identity theft prevention and resolution, visit the police department’s website at and click on the ID Theft Unit link.

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