NEW YORK (WWTI) — New York State Police are warning the public of scams targeting the elderly throughout the state.

According to NYSP, it is estimated that over $1,000,000 has been exchanged from the victims in State Police cases in 2021 and $500,000 so far in 2022. Police advised residents that there has been a recent increase in scams and provided information on how to avoid being a victim of fraud.

They stated that scams can range from a variety of scenarios including posing as a family member who claims to have an illness or has been arrested or posing as law enforcement with a family member under arrest who is in need of bail or funds. Scammers may also pose as law enforcement and claim that the victim’s Social Security Number or Bank Accounts have been “compromised” so they can gather the information.

Additionally, residents may receive emails or texts with an “Urgent” message stating that their Social Security number, bank account, cable provider, Apple account, Amazon account, or Netflix account has been “compromised” and needs immediate attention. Police reminded residents that their agencies will not contact families for bail money, ask for money to fix Social Security numbers or bank accounts, or send texts asking for account information.

NYSP also advised the public that it is likely that scammers ask the victim to get a specific amount of money in multiple ways including purchasing gift cards from popular stores and sending them the code, sending cash in the mail in a specific way, or to purchase Bitcoin or Crypto Currency with a QR code provided by the caller. If people receive a call they think might be a scam they are encouraged to resist the urge to act immediately regardless of what the caller claims, verify the caller’s identity, and never send money or gift cards or give out their personal banking information.

Although the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is continuing to work on cases regarding fraudulent callers, most times the suspects are out of the Country and due to complexity of the cases, victims will not get the money they sent. More information on recent scams and how to avoid them can be found here.