Police alert for phone scams

Pennsylvania State Police, Troop K, Media station, wants to alert people about several phone scams that have been conducted within the state, primarily targeting the elderly. Three of the most prevalent include IRS, lottery winner, and bail money scams.

The IRS scam is usually perpetrated by an unknown caller (usually male with an accent) cold calling a victim and stating that they are under investigation by the IRS for tax evasion. The caller states that if the victim does not immediately wire money to a certain account that a warrant will be issued for their arrest. The caller usually instructs the victim to retrieve prepaid money cards and provide them with the authorization codes, or to go to a Western Union location and wire the money. If the suspect is successful, they often recontact the victim and request further funds.

The Lottery Winner scam involves an unknown caller who contacts the victim and explains that they’ve been randomly selected to win a certain amount of money. They request the victim to wire them a small amount of money to “register” their account to receive the lottery winnings, which will never be paid to the victim because it is a scam. The victims who carry through with the wire are often recontacted to provide more money.

The Bail Money scam again often targets the elderly and an unknown individual will contact the victim stating that they’re the victim’s grandchild or an attorney for the grandchild who has been arrested out of the country. They will instruct the victim to wire “bail money” to an account in order to have the grandchild set free.

The Pennsylvania State Police urges members of the public to be aware of these scams and thoroughly vet any cold calls sounding similar to the above referenced schemes.

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