The New York State Police is cautioning Hudson Valley homeowners to be wary of a recent scam sweeping the area that is similar to the “Grandparent Scam” that has become prevalent in recent years.
According to police, the scam involves unidentified suspects calling or texting a victim's cell phone and stating that a family member or loved one was kidnapped or in immediate danger. The scammer would then demand an amount of money that must be wired, or the loved one will be killed.
State police have advised that anyone who receives such a call should ask personal questions in rapid succession that the scammer would not be able to identify - such as pet’s name, family birthdays or birth town - in an effort to authenticate their identity. Police added that the family of the person allegedly in peril should also be contacted as a precaution.
Recently, in Middletown, police reported that a caller stated to the victim that their loved one was responsible for a car accident and medical expenses. They then stated that the loved one was being held for ransom in order to pay for legal, medical and car repair expenses.
Police said the scammer was convincing enough and had someone screaming in the background, prompting the victim to wire $500. That caller used a cell phone number with a Westchester County area code beginning with (914) 656-XXXX. Anyone who has been targeted should contact their local law enforcement officials or nearest state police barrack.