The Benbrook Police Department is currently investigating several reports of telephone scams being perpetrated against residents. Although there are many different versions of telephone scams, the following are two current trends being successfully employed against unknowing citizens.
“Grandparent” phone scams are used to notify a family member that their son, daughter, grandson, etc. has been arrested, and a bond needs to be posted to get them out of jail. Specific instructions are usually given on the phone by someone impersonating a law enforcement official offering to help the victim get their loved one released quickly. Victims are directed to purchase prepaid cash cards (Money Pak, Green Dot, Prepaid Visa, etc.) for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Victims provide the “officer” the card number and PIN number so the money can be quickly withdrawn from their bank accounts. Unfortunately, in these types of transactions, the victim has little or no recourse at recouping the money.
The second, and equally successful scam, is a phone call advising residents they have won some type of expensive prize, such as a lottery, car, cash, or sweepstakes. Victims are convinced they only need to pay a processing fee to collect their prize(s). Again, suspects will have you purchase pre-paid cash cards as mentioned above, deposit cash money into an account at a local bank, or wire transfer money to their accounts.
Being informed is the best way to protect yourself from getting scammed.
If someone calls you to help a loved one, ask questions. Verify the arrest by calling the jail facility/police agency, or another family member who will know the whereabouts of the person supposedly arrested. Police departments generally require bonds or fines to be paid in person, not over the phone.
Remember, legitimate sweepstakes prizes do not require upfront payments, so don’t be fooled by the newest and most elaborate scams. They may actually have active internet websites, callback numbers, and multiple people working in an effort to fool you.
The Benbrook Police Department is always here to assist you, please do not hesitate to call us at 817-249-1610 if you have a question about a possible scam.