Suffolk County Police are warning residents about a telephone extortion scam.
The scam is similar to one reported in Nassau County earlier this week.
The department said the scam goes like this:
A resident will receive a telephone call from someone claiming that they know a family member who is somehow in trouble and needs money wired immediately. The caller attempts to pressure the victim to send money without verifying the family member’s whereabouts.
In one scenario, the caller claims that they have just been in a motor vehicle crash with a relative of the victim who refuses to pay for the damage. The caller claims to be holding the relative at gunpoint until the victim pays several thousand dollars.
Other scenarios may include the caller claiming a family member of the victim has been arrested and needs money for bail, or a family member owes someone money. The victim is told to withdraw money from an ATM and the caller will guide them to an institution where they can wire money. The victim is also told he is being watched to ensure he is following directions.
Victims are often randomly selected and the caller is often able to convince the target that the scenario is real.
Suffolk police say there have been a few variations of this scam, but they run pretty much the same way. the premise is generally the same. They warn residents to first try to independently verify the threatened relative’s whereabouts but not to give out any personal information to the caller. And residents should call police.