From Police Chief Christopher Parker:
We have received a few reports in Green Island recently of a phone scam commonly referred to as the “Grandparent Scam”.
This is how the grandparent scam typically plays out: You get a call from someone pretending to be your grandchild. The person explains that he is in trouble, with a story that goes something like this: “There’s been an accident and I’m______ (in jail, in the hospital, stuck in a foreign country), and I need your help.” The caller adds enough details about how, what or where the emergency happened to make the story seem plausible. And the distraught caller, you think to yourself, does sort of sound like your grandson or granddaughter.
Often the caller tells you that a third person, such as a lawyer, doctor or police officer, will “explain everything to you” if you call him or her. This makes it seem more real when you call and talk to the authority, Then the caller asks you to send or wire money immediately, with the kicker, “Please, don’t tell Mom and Dad!”
There are a number of things we can do to avoid becoming a victim:
1) With most phones now having caller identification you can choose not to answer from any number that you are not familiar with. Of course, by doing that you run the risk of missing a legitimate call every now in then. However, a legitimate caller will most likely leave a message on voice mail which can be returned promptly if proved to be authentic.
2) If you do talk to a potential scammer you can ask personal information about the supposed caller to try and determine if the caller is really who they say they are. Questions that only he/she would know.
3) Never give out personal information over the phone.
Further information about the Grandparent and others scams is available at https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2018/grandparent-scam-scenarios.html.
In the past, our department has also been contacted by concerned residents that have been solicited by email, phone, door to door and US Mail about such items as bail money for a relative they know, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), utility insurance, gas and electricity suppliers, contractors and even the Nigerian Bank scam.
Even though some of these may be legitimate businesses (the Nigerian Bank is not, bail money is normally not legit, IRS does not solicit information by phone), we again emphasize to you to never give personal information out to anyone by email, mail or phone unless they have been checked out as legitimate. Do not answer your door unless that they have proper identification with them and it is visible. Any person soliciting a product or service door to door must also have a permit from the Village Clerk’s office with them at all times. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to immediately report it to our Police Department by calling 9-1-1. They have no objection coming and checking on your home or business. You can also check out websites for scam prevention information and tips from the Better Business Bureau at http://www.upstateny.bbb.org or the NYS Consumer Protection Board at http://www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. Both sites have a “scam alert” button on their home page.
Again, please report to the police anytime (call 911) that you think you have either been scammed or received an attempt at being scammed.